Aging and Dental Health

Not so long ago it was taken for granted that serious memory impairment was a normal part of aging. While some memory loss is common as people get older, and while we can joke about “senior moments,” the notion that mental decline is inevitable is just plain wrong.[1]

Special Needs Dentistry
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Yet mental decline does happen, and far too often the effects of aging have a negative impact on a person’s dental health. While the reasons for this are varied, the team at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria believes that advancing age does not have to mean poor dental health.

A lot of people aren’t even sure how to refer to mental decline. They call it dementia, or even the outdated “senility.” But dementia is really a general term that describes a group of symptoms like reduced attention span, impaired learning ability, and – yes – memory. It is only when these symptoms begin to interfere with daily life that they become an issue. This article uses the term dementia in its broadest sense and acknowledges that it is an imprecise term.[2]

Regardless of what it’s called, dementia is a major disorder with many implications. “As dementia progresses … oral care can be forgotten,” wrote the authors of a paper on aging and dental care. “There can be a disinterest by the individual affected by dementia in dental maintenance and a reduction in the physical ability of the individual to maintain their oral health and communicate dental problems.”[3]

The Center for Dental Anesthesia specializes in Special Needs Dentistry and treats patients who are coping with declining cognitive ability due to the effects of aging.

Frightening Matters

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells, which hinders their ability to communicate. This in turn affects thinking and behavior. While dementia is a generic term, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for sixty to eighty percent of dementia cases in older citizens. Nearly five and a half million Americans, in fact, are living with Alzheimer’s disease.[4]

Other forms of dementia include:

  • Huntington’s disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Mixed Dementia.[5]

What all forms have in common is that they are progressive, meaning that symptoms become more pronounced as time goes by.[6]

Our team provides outstanding
care for special needs patients,
including geriatrics … Dr. Zeyad
Mady and Dr. James Geren are
dentists with comprehensive training
and expertise, so you can expect a
comfortable and safe experience
every time.

These are frightening matters. Most of us have witnessed a loved one gradually succumb to dementia. It is only small comfort that the symptoms of dementia are, in some cases, reversible. These include vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems. Most progressive dementias, however, are not reversible and cannot be cured.[7]

There are many factors that increase the risk of developing dementia. Some of these, like aging, are beyond our control. Others, such as smoking and heavy alcohol use, are within our influence.[8]

Oral Care

Because dementia is a progressive condition, the risk of other health issues stemming from it increase as time goes by. Balance problems, for example, can result in a greater risk of falling. It is therefore important to establish a good dental hygiene routine in someone who has been diagnosed with dementia.

Anyone who has been diagnosed should not be living alone. During the early stages, they should for taking care of their teeth and gums, and should be in control for as long as it is possible. They might, however, need some supervision, or need to be reminded to brush and floss.[9]

It may be up to a caregiver to not only remind the person to brush. They may also need to give them the brush and toothpaste, and even show them what they need to do. If there are coordination issues, it may be easier for the person to use an electric toothbrush. At the Center for Dental Anesthesia, we have a lot of experience with dementia patients, and can provide advice on the best approaches for oral care.[10]

The person with dementia may be a denture wearer. In such cases, it may be necessary to remind them to put them in; they may also need some assistance inserting them. They may also need help keeping the dentures clean. Some caregivers have found it helpful to mark the dentures, because people with dementia sometimes lose them.[11]

Later Stages

As the person’s dementia progresses, there may be a decline in oral health. They may lose the ability to brush and floss on their own, or the understanding of how important it is. If that happens, it may be up to a caretaker to do it for them.

It is also possible that the person with dementia has discomfort with their teeth or gums but is unable to articulate the problem. Their caregiver or loved ones should be on the lookout for signs such as:

  • Not wearing dentures
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pulling at the face or mouth

If you observe any of these behaviors, bring the person in to the CDA for an examination as soon as possible.

Help Is Nearby

The rate of dementia among Americans is increasing. During the next fifty years, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease alone is projected to triple. That means that more and more people will be need the services of dental professionals who are equipped to treat dementia patients.[12]

No matter your age or condition, good dental health is important. No one should be deprived of quality dental care because of a disability. At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, we have years of experience in designing treatment plans for patients with all sorts of special needs. If you or a loved one is coping with dementia, please call us to schedule an appointment.

For anyone coping with dementia in a family member or loved one, an excellent resource is alz connected, an online support community.



[1]      “The Connection Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dental Health” Referred to hereafter as “Connection.”

[2]      Dementia is general term: “What Is Dementia?”, and “Dementia,”

The word “senility” has largely fallen into disuse. See

[3]      Quote: “Dental problems and their management in patients with dementia,” p 4.

[4]      Number of people living with Alzheimer’s: “Connection.”

[5]      Other forms: “Types of Dementia”, referred to hereafter as “Types of Dementia.”

[6]      “Types of Dementia”

[7]      “What Is Dementia?”

[8]      “Dementia.”

[9]      “Dental Care and Oral Health, Factsheet 448LP. Referred to hereafter as “Factsheet.”

[10]     Factsheet.

[11]     Factsheet.

[12]     Rates of dementia cases: “Treating Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease.”


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Alexandria, Virginia


Peace Begins With A Smile

northern Virgina cosmetic dental veneers

Mother Theresa once said “Peace begins with a smile.” Perhaps that peace should start with the person who is smiling. At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, we ask: how do you feel about your smile? Are you at peace with it? Would you like to improve it with modern cosmetic dentistry?

Bright eyes and bright smiles are best served clear and clean. Regular dental checkups can prevent runaway decay and expensive corrections. Stay at peace with your smile by scheduling regular dental visits to avoid any future oral problems.

Rest assured there are ways to redo what nature has given you or cosmetically remedy problems that have affected your once-pleasant smile. Talk to us about veneers, bridges, dental implants, invisalign braces.

Cosmetic dentistry is all about creating positive changes to your teeth and smile. We can fix chips and cracks, fill in gaps, and brighten your smile with teeth whitening.

How does that sound? If you are not at peace with your smile and would like to make some changes, cosmetic dentistry from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria may be just what you want. We also offer special needs dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


ArticleID 6857

Celebrating The Past And Looking To The Future

Celebrating The Past And Looking To The Future At Center for Dental Anesthesia

It has now been over 150 years since the first dental license was issued to Sir John Tomes. Our patients at the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria should be grateful for the advances made in dentistry since then.

There was a time when blacksmiths and wig makers would also extract teeth with forceps to make a little extra money. Anyone could call themselves a dentist. Often these untrained people broke the jaws of the person they were trying to help. Ouch!

At Center for Dental Anesthesia, we celebrate with the dental community and marvel at the many advances made in the history of dentistry, particularly cosmetic dentistry.

One of the modern treatments that has helped countless Alexandria patients is invisible braces. This non-visible orthodontic therapy is custom made for each patient. They are transparent and removable and will help you achieve your desired smile in about 3 to 18 months.

If you have dreamed of a cosmetic improvement to your smile, we invite you to make an appointment with us to discuss a smile makeover. Complete smile transformations are performed as quickly and professionally as possible – sometimes in just one visit!

The Center for Dental Anesthesia offers family and cosmetic dentistry, and many other services. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


ArticleID 4338

Do You Have The Most Common Dental Problem?

Alexandria Teeth WhiteningAt the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, we restore decayed teeth to create smiles that are both healthy and beautiful. Recent advances in techniques and materials have made the impossible not only possible, but affordable.

Tooth decay is the most common dental problem in the United States and the second most common disease in the nation (number one is the common cold). An astonishing ninety-two percent of people between the ages of twenty and sixty-four have had at least one cavity in one of their permanent teeth. Another twenty-six percent – more than one-fourth – are walking around with untreated cavities.

If you have one or more teeth with decay, it’s time to take care of them.

Fillings, inlays, onlays and crowns are used to restore teeth. Even the most basic procedure – filling a cavity – has evolved. There are several types of new materials available including porcelain and composite resin. Each has specific strengths and aesthetic considerations. Alexandria patients who replace silver amalgam with tooth-colored fillings love getting the metal out of their smile.

Inlays and onlays are more extensive restorations. There are two types: direct or indirect. Direct inlays and onlays are made in your northern Virgina cosmetic dental office on the spot and applied in one visit. Indirect inlays and onlays are fabricated in a dental lab. They usually require a second visit but the results are well worth the extra trip.

When a patient has a tooth that cannot be restored with an inlay or an onlay, a natural-looking crown is the answer. At Center for Dental Anesthesia, we create crowns that blend in perfectly with the rest of your teeth. Let us show you some photos of patients who have received smile makeovers – you will not see any “Chiclet” crowns that stick out like a sore thumb. In fact, you won’t be able to tell which of our Alexandria dental patients have crowns.

At The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, services include family and special needs dentistry. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


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Quirky Dental Facts That May Surprise You

northern Virgina cosmetic dental and tooth implants

In this post from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, we share some fun facts about dentistry. Enjoy!

  • Many dental patients are aware that before there was formal dental training and licensing, barbers often performed dental procedures. But did you know that blacksmiths also moonlighted as dentists?1 How would you like your dental visit to involve tools used to hammer hot metal?
  • The Mayans were accomplished cosmetic dentists. One smile style in Mayan culture was bejeweled teeth – a procedure that involved the drilling of holes to embed precious gems. That’s a grill with major bling! 1
  • The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime. That is enough to fill up two swimming pools.2 (Not a very pleasant image, right?)
  • Nylon toothbrush bristles weren’t introduced until 1938. Prior to that, pig hair was a common bristle material.3 (“Mom, my toothbrush smells like bacon!”)
  • A popular toothache treatment in medieval Germany was to kiss a donkey.3 There is no evidence that it actually worked and it is unknown if the same remedy was used by donkeys.
  • Every person’s tongue is unique – just like a fingerprint.4
  • In medieval Japan, black teeth were considered appealing. Style-conscious women used roots to stain their teeth.3

At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, you won’t find pig hair, donkeys, or anvils. You will find exceptional dental care. Our services include family and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next checkup with us  today.

1Gregory Myers,”10 Weird Facts About Teeth,” ListVerse, January 27, 2014,, accessed on November 14, 2014
2Mouth Matters,”, August 28, 2012,, accessed on November 14, 2014
3Chew on This, Fun Tooth Facts for a Healthy Mouth,” Delta Dental,, accessed on November 12, 2014
4“New oral features can be considered unique as a fingerprint,” DentistryiQ,, accessed on November 14, 2014

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Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


ArticleID 6749

Let Us Ease Your Dental Anxiety

Alexandria teeth bleaching best price

Are you worried about seeing the dentist? Do you struggle to discuss your smile? At the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA, we can help. Settling into the reality of what you are prepared to discuss is the first step to relief.

1. Talk To Us:
Whether you want to have a dental implant or restorative dentistry done, call now to schedule a consultation. We can describe everything that is involved with your procedure, answer any questions you may have, and put your mind at ease.

2. Choose a Dentist:
The next step is making a choice. Keep in mind that Center for Dental Anesthesia offers competitive pricing and affordable options. The reality is that we service the Prince William County, northern Virgina, Fairfax areas with pleasure and look forward to treating your dental concerns with accuracy, gentleness and care.

3. Go Forward with Confidence:
The final step to relief is just smiling.

At The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, the state of your smile is always our top priority. Services include family and cosmetic dentistry. We are also one of the few practices offering special needs dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


ArticleID 5525

Dentistry and ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are the most common neurobehavioral conditions in school-aged children. Nationally, anywhere from two to eighteen percent of people are affected. The total number of Americans diagnosed with ADHD has risen steadily since 2003.[1]

Special Needs Dentistry
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ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and overactivity, and usually begins during childhood. “It is a developmental disorder of self-control or the ability to regulate behavior,” said Lisa Dowst-Mayo, a dental hygiene program director at Concorde Career College in San Antonio. “Children with ADHD have a significant impairment in their ability to inhibit behavior that affects daily life. Working with these patients in the dental office can be a challenge.”[2]

A friendlier term for ADHD is spirited. It is more common in boys than in girls, is a lifelong condition, and is not preventable. Providing dental care for ADHD patients and others with special needs may be a challenge, but it is the specialty of the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria.[3]

A Brief History

ADHD was identified more than one hundred years ago. At first it was named “brain-injured child syndrome.” Fortunately that name did not stick, and it became known as “minimal brain dysfunction.” This term remained in use until 1970, when it was renamed “hyperactive child syndrome,” and then “attention deficit disorder.” Only in 1987 did the current term, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, come into use.[4]

ADD, incidentally, is a type of ADHD. The two are not the same thing, since the latter involves a lot of movement and fidgeting. However, since 1994 all forms of the disorder have been referred to as ADHD. This article primarily addresses the hyperactive form, but readers should bear the distinctions in mind.[5]

Dr. Zeyad Mady has
dedicated his practice as a
save haven for all of his
patients, especially for
those who need additional
attention or who have had
poor experiences with
dentistry in the past.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), patients with ADHD cope with the following:

  1. Difficulty with sustaining attention and increased distractibility
  2. Impulse control or inhibition
  3. Excessive activity
  4. Difficulty following rules and instructions
  5. Excessive variability in their responses to situations

Compulsivity and excessive energy, of course, are hallmarks of most children. The DSM-5 lists nine ADHD personality traits. To be diagnosed with the condition, a patient must possess at least six of them.[6]

Sensory Overload

Raising a child is seldom easy, but the parents of children with ADHD – or any special needs condition – face additional challenges.

Kids with ADHD tend to have poor oral hygiene, and thus a greater potential for tooth decay. There are also higher rates of bruxism (teeth grinding), and a higher risk for dental/oral trauma than in other children.[7]

Many experts contend that children and adults with ADHD can be treated in a general dental setting, but this is not always practical. Young ADHD patients in particular tend to have more behavior management issues during dental appointments than do those kids without it. Just sitting through a checkup can be challenging for children with ADHD. The dental environment – its sights, smells, and sounds – can be enough to trigger an adverse reaction.[8]

Lisa Dowst-Mayo calls this sensory overload, and advises dentists not to make too much of these reactions. “In the dental chair, it is best to simply ignore behaviors that may seem inappropriate, because they are usually unintentional,” she says. Fidgeting, for example, may seem excessive, but can help ADHD children feel more relaxed. She also urges patience, because so many ADHD kids need extra time to process directions, such as “Open wide.”[9]

Parents can do a lot to help make things go smoother. Schedule appointments in the morning, because most ADHD kids tend to do better earlier in the day. Bring a favorite toy or game to keep them occupied, and keep them informed about what is going on and what is expected. Rewards and positive reinforcement for cooperative behavior can also be effective.[10]


A diagnosis of ADHD may set someone apart from the crowd, and it can be challenging for those who live with it every day. But by no means does it limit what one can achieve in life.

Matt Curry was diagnosed with ADHD in seventh grade. After graduating from high school he began working in automotive stores and discovered his passion; today he owns one of the largest independent auto-repair chains in the Washington, D.C. area. Behavioral strategies enable him to focus, and he attributes his business success to his condition. “ADHD is my superpower,” Curry says. “I’m successful because of it, not in spite of it.”[11]

For dental professionals and other health care providers, the keys are empathy and compassion. “Treating a dental patient with ADHD does not have to be a painful, strenuous experience,” Lisa Dowst-Mayo says. She recommends dental professionals abide by strategies summarized by the acronym, UNCAPPED:

U. Understanding for your patient
N. Non-judgmental attitude
C. Calm. Stay calm and relaxed
A. Attitude. Keep a positive attitude
P. Praise. Be generous with positive praise
P. Patient. Be patient with your client’s needs
E. Empathy
D. Directness

An excellent resource for information on ADHD is the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder website ( CHADD is a national non-profit providing information, advocacy, and support for people with ADHD.

The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria has always recognized the importance and necessity of special needs dentistry, and welcomes patients with ADHD, Down syndrome, and serious illnesses. CDA is committed to excellence in dentistry, and to being a safe haven for all of our patients, regardless of extenuating special needs.



Number of Americans with ADHD: “ADHD, By the Numbers.” See also, “Pharmacologic Behavior Management of Pediatric Dental Patients Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.”

[2] Quote: “How to work effectively with patients who have ADHD,” by Lisa Dowst-Mayo, RDH, DSDH, p. 2. Hereafter referred to as “How to work effectively…”

More common in boys: “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Implications for Dental Practice.” (Author not listed.) Lifelong condition, not preventable: “10 Key Questions About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).”

“How to work effectively…” p. 2.

“ADD v. ADHD.”

“How to work effectively…” p. 2.

“Oral Health Fact Sheet for Dental Professionals: Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Referred to hereafter as “Oral Health Fact Sheet…”

“How to work effectively…” p. 5.

“How to work effectively…” p. 5.

“How to work effectively…” p. 5.

“Born This Way: Personal Stories of Life with ADHD,” by Eileen Baily.

Quote, and UNCAPPED: “How to work effectively…” p. 6.


Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


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Alexandria, Virginia

Oral Rinses: An Extra Measure Of Protection For Kids

Oral Rinses: An Extra Measure Of Tooth Protection For Prince William County Kids

This message from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria centers on pediatric dentistry.

Parents usually know the basics on children’s dental health: limit sugar, make sure they brush and floss regularly, take them to the dentist for twice-yearly exams and cleanings, discourage between-meal snacking, see that they get enough calcium and Vitamin D, and so on. Many parents also give their kids fluoride supplements if their municipal water supply has an inadequate level of fluoride.

Is there anything else a concerned parent can do to promote children’s oral health? Yes! Have children use an oral rinse that contains fluoride.

Fluoride supplements help strengthen teeth that are still forming, and also help teeth that have already come in. A fluoride rinse is an added measure of protection.

It’s a good idea for children to use an oral rinse after they brush and floss. They should swish it around in their mouths for thirty seconds or so, and then spit it out. (Make sure your child doesn’t swallow it!) This should be the last substance in their mouth before they go to bed. The fluoride will remain on the teeth and help prevent new cavities from forming. It can also help stop any demineralization that has already begun by accumulating in the tiny fissures and fortifying the enamel.

At The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, pediatric dentistry is one of our specialties. We also offer family dentistry, and special needs dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


ArticleID 3569

Ouch! Are Your Teeth Sensitive?

Are Your Teeth Sensitive In Alexandria?

For those of you who feel pain when you sip your morning coffee or who cringe each time you brush or floss, Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria is here for you.

The first line of defense against tooth sensitivity is proper oral hygiene. Incorrect brushing and over-brushing can result in receding gums, which leads to the exposure of microscopic tubules in the dentin. When these tubules are exposed, the result is sensitive teeth: acidic foods, hot and cold, and sticky foods can reach the nerve cells and cause discomfort.

Here in our Alexandria dentistry practice, our professional staff can determine if your brushing style is contributing to your tooth sensitivity troubles and get you on your way to proper oral care habits.

We usuall recommend an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste that helps alleviate tooth pain after several applications. Most major toothpaste brands have a sensitive teeth variety, and they are readily available wherever toothpaste is sold.

However, some patients may need in-office procedures such as fluoride gel treatments, available at Center for Dental Anesthesia.

At The Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, our services inlcude family and cosmetic dentistry, and a wide range of special needs dentistry services.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia


ArticleID 3091

Are You Getting Your Dose Of D?

pediatric dentist

Most people know that vitamin D is important for healthy teeth and bones, but many of us fail to get adequate amounts. This post from the Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria VA is a friendly reminder to our patients – especially expectant mothers – about the importance of vitamin D.

Here is a sampling of vitamin D findings from around the web:

“Several recent reports demonstrate a significant association between periodontal health and the intake of vitamin D.” 1

“Researchers who took a second look at a series of clinical trials conducted on 2,000 children in several countries between the 1920s and 1980s determined vitamin D — which we often garner from sunlight — was associated with around a 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.”2

“Inadequate vitamin D levels in pregnant women may be associated with dental caries in their children during the first year of life.”3

“The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, but it is hard to quantify how much vitamin D you get from time in the sun and the risk of skin cancer may outweigh the benefits. Food first, says Baylor College of Medicine dietitian Keli Hawthorne. “Supplements can fill in the gaps but it is always better to try to meet your nutritional needs with foods that contain fiber, phytonutrients, and so much more,” Unless you enjoy a diet that includes fatty fish or fish liver oils, it may be hard to get enough vitamin D naturally without eating fortified foods or taking a supplement. “The major dietary source of vitamin D comes from fortified diary, along with some yogurts and cereals,” Hawthorne says. Mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and beef liver contain small amounts.” 4

At thef Center for Dental Anesthesia in Alexandria, we encourage all of our patients to practice preventative medicine by eating a healthy diet complete with all vital nutrients. Our services include family and special needs dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Center for Dental Anesthesia:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, Virginia

1 SH Stein, DA Tipton, “Vitamin D and its impact on oral health–an update., Spring 2011, NIH,”, accessed on June 23, 2014
2 1University of Washington, “Vitamin D linked to lower rates of tooth decay,” ScienceDaily, November 27, 2012,, accessed on June 23, 2014
3 “Maternal Vitamin D Levels and Early Childhood Caries May be Linked, Researchers Find,”Journal of the American Dental Association, June 1, 2014,, accessed on June 23, 2014
4 “Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?,” WebMD, 2011,, accessed on June 23, 2014

ArticleID 6536