Arlington, VA

Today, Drs. Morrow and Hartman from Elite Dental talk about tips for keeping up an excellent oral hygiene routine while dental offices across the country are closed except for emergent care.

We know you keep hearing to avoid touching your face, but now is also not the time to slack on your oral health! Here are some things you can do to prevent dental issues while you’re staying at home.

First things first, wash your hands! Follow the recommendation from the CDC to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Clean under your fingernails, between your fingers and don’t forget your thumbs. Always wash your hands prior to placing your hands or fingers near your mouth.

Brush twice daily for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, and don’t forget to floss once a day. Most people put off flossing, but now is especially not the time!

Still feeling nervous about having your hands or fingers near your mouth? Floss picks are an option, but be aware of their limitations. Floss picks can’t get below your gum line and along the angles of each tooth. Fine in a pinch, but washing your hands thoroughly and flossing with string floss is best.

Try to limit carbs and sugar as much as possible to keep cavity causing bacteria off your teeth. We know it’s all too easy to snack frequently while staying home, but limiting your sugar intake can help prevent cavities. Stick to a healthy, fresh diet and use high sugar, high carb treats sparingly. The less time the sugar is on your teeth, the less likely to cause a cavity.

Having jaw or tooth pain? Our first tip would be to try to manage with over-the-counter pain relievers like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Tylenol. If you find yourself clenching or grinding more, try your best to practice relaxation techniques like massaging sore muscles with warm heat, ice any joint pain, eat a soft diet and avoid anything crunchy or chewy like gum.

If the pain is UNBEARABLE or you have any active swelling, give your dentist a call immediately. There are limitations on emergencies we can see, but we’ll do our best to get you through this time.

By not taking excellent care of your teeth now, you’ll put yourself at a higher risk for oral health complications and a possible emergency in the future. Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay at home… and don’t forget to brush and floss.

Dr. Hartman and Dr. Morrow practice at Elite Dental in Arlington, Virginia and are currently accepting new patients.

Call 703-988-6963, or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

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(Updated at 10:25 p.m.) In a small press conference, local officials explained that the second day of drive-in coronavirus testing went well but efforts are hamstrung by a lack of coronavirus tests.

“We’ve been able to process 63 patients,” said Melody Dickerson, Virginia Hospital Center’s Chief Nursing Officer. “We are training more laboratory staff to help with the process. The limiting resource is the testing supplies. That is a finite resource and we continue to monitor that closely.”

Dickerson said the facility, on county-owned property across from Washington-Liberty High School, could test 12 people per hour, but the number of available tests limited them to 63 patients.

Aaron Miller, Director of Arlington’s Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, said the efficiency of Arlington’s operation can and should be applied elsewhere.

“We’ve taken the successful model you’ve seen here and the plans we’ve worked on and provided that with our regional partners as a templated guidance,” Miller said. “We’ve encouraged not only regional partners but state partners to use this as an example of what can be accomplished with these public-private partnerships.”

Arlington is supporting the requests from other state and regional leaders to get more testing from the federal government, he added.

Following the announcement that Arlington has set up a coronavirus hotline — 703-228-7999 — for resident questions, Miller requested that Arlingtonians save 911 calls for emergencies.

“We saw a spike in calls to 911 asking about testing,” Miller said. “Please, if you do not have an emergency, please don’t call 911.”

Also Thursday, Arlington County released a video showing the new protective gear firefighters might be wearing on medical calls to protect them from disease.

“Please, do not be alarmed,” the video said. “This does not mean that the patient we are attending to is sick with the coronavirus.”

The extra precautions are necessary to keep first responders healthy at a time when there is evidence of “community transmission” in Northern Virginia.

More from Arlington County:

As of March 19, 2020, public health officials have noted evidence of community transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus in parts of Northern Virginia.

Local governments in Northern Virginia have already taken a number of actions to promote social distancing and protect those at increased risk for severe illness. Individuals are urged to:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with those are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow and wash your hands afterwards
  • Avoid crowded areas and non‐essential travel if you are over age 65 or have a chronic medical condition
  • Follow local government social distancing guidance.
  • Infectious diseases do not respect boundaries. Each individual is a critical part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, in addition to government action at the local, state and federal levels.

For more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how you can help protect yourself and those around you, visit arlingtonva.us/Coronavirus.

Photo via Jay Westcott

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There are confirmed cases of coronavirus on the East Coast, so Arlington County assembled some local experts to talk about what the county is doing to prepare for a potential outbreak while clearing up some misconceptions about the disease.

A number of county officials fielded questions sent via social media during Wednesday night’s online panel discussion. Dr. Reuben Varghese, the Arlington County Director of Public Health, answered the lion’s share of the questions as he told locals what to do, and what not to do, to prevent the spread of the disease.

Varghese, like health officials across the country, said the most effective way of keeping yourself safe is by frequently washing your hands, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds at a time.

“The tried and true [advice] for public health activities is to wash your hands with soap and water,” Varghese said. “Don’t touch mouth, nose, eyes. Those are portals for how germs get into body. Cover your cough with elbow and tissue.

Varghese said hand sanitizer can be handy in a pinch, but warned that it isn’t a replacement for thorough handwashing. Any soap will do, Varghese said, noting that antibacterial soap and regular soap make no difference here since the disease is not bacterial.

“Whenever you enter a building, wash your hands,” Varghese said. “When you get home, wash your hands.”

Some asked why the focus on stopping a respiratory virus was on hands and not breathing, but Varghese said that’s a common misconception with diseases like this.

“It’s not always through respiratory contact that you get spread of germs,” Varghese said. “Unless you’re routinely in very close proximity with someone, the most common way of transferring respiratory illness is disease on hands touching [your] mouth, nose or eyes — which then get into the system and cause respiratory illness.”

Varghese also said Arlingtonians shouldn’t be too worried about the spread of coronavirus through apartment complex air systems.

“Whether it’s a high rise or home, [spread of the virus] is all about how air handling is done in these facilities,” Varghese said. “As far as I know, the vast majority have very good air handling in the high rise buildings so it should not lead to spread within these areas.”

Other panelists said now is a good time to take stock of emergency supplies.

“The time to prepare is before emergencies,” said Aaron Miller, director of Arlington’s emergency management department. “In these stages, where we’re still monitoring [the outbreak], take this opportunity to relook at your kit. Look at the food, water, medications.”

Miller said businesses should have a plan for continuity of operations in case of emergencies, referring them to guidance from the CDC.

For those with plans to travel, Miller also advised referring to the CDC travel advisories. In general, Varghese said travel should be limited to absolute necessity.

“People need to be smart, in general,” Varghese said. “Ask the question: is the travel essential? We’ll leave it to you to decide what’s essential.”

Regarding the schools, County Manager Mark Schwartz said decisions to close in the event of a local outbreak would be made on a case-by-case basis.

“We’re in constant communication with the schools,” Schwartz said. “As far as decisions for closing classrooms or schools, I can’t say ‘this should happen’ or ‘that should happen.'”

“If your kid is sick, the best thing you can do is keep that child at home with you,” Schwartz added.

The Q&A session (a video replay is below) would likely be the first of several chats in the coming weeks, said Schwartz.

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Uncharacteristically, Arlington County Board Vice Chair Erik Gutshall did not attend this past month’s board meetings.

His absence, the reason for the five-member Board’s 4-0 vote on the county tax rate advertisement on Tuesday, is due to a serious health condition.

Gutshall’s wife broke the “heartbreakingly difficult” news on his Facebook account Sunday night, telling friends that he is “hospitalized and being treated for a brain tumor.”

“We hope that you will keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he goes through treatment over the coming weeks,” Renee Gutshall wrote. “Words cannot express how much your friendship, support and love mean to me, our children and Erik right now.”

Gutshall, who was first elected in 2017, is up for reelection in 2021.

“Our friend and colleague, Erik Gutshall, is dealing with a health crisis,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a brief statement Monday morning. “We miss him, and our thoughts are with him and his family.”

At the Board’s annual organizational meeting in January, Gutshall spoke of the progress the County has made in just the past few years on issues like housing, sustainability, and economic development. The county had “leveled up” with the arrival of Amazon, he said.

“Today is proof that even a distant future will one day come to pass,” Gutshall said. “I’m honored to work on this next level with my amazing colleagues, talented Manager and his brilliant staff, and the passionate citizens who I know care about this community as much as each of us.”

In addition to serving on the County Board, Gutshall is the president and owner of residential maintenance company Clarendon Home Services.

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With the Virginia Health Department investigating a second possible case of coronavirus in Northern Virginia, Arlington County is preparing for the worst-case scenario: a local outbreak.

Kurt Larrick, assistant director of the Arlington County Department of Human Services, said in an email that the Arlington County Public Health Department is taking several steps to monitor the disease.

Per an email from Larrick:

  • ACPHD staff continue to update hospital and healthcare communities with guidance on how to identify and respond to possible cases.
  • ACPHD will arrange appropriate lab testing
  • If there are any cases in Arlington, ACPHD staff will follow CDC guidance about identifying and monitoring close contacts of a case.
  • Staff are available 24/7 to provide this support.

Larrick said the department has a new page on the coronavirus outbreak that includes the latest info, who’s at risk, and what people should do to protect themselves and others.

“The Virginia Department of Health is a good resource,” Larrick said. “They plan to provide updates every Thursday and/or as warranted.”

Several health tips are available on the County website, mostly the usual of “wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds” and to stay home if you’re feeling sick. Also, you should probably avoid traveling to China.

While coronavirus is in the spotlight, the truth is that standard influenza is likely to kill more Americans this year.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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Did you know? IUDs are considered one of the most effective forms of birth control by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG).

At Capital Women’s Care Division 67 we have a collaborative practice featuring three Obstetrician-Gynecologists (OB-GYNs) and a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) all trained to insert IUDs.

We love to talk to our patients about their reproductive goals, when or if they want to start a family, grow their family or help with their period symptoms. One of the tools to help during this journey is an IUD. IUD stands for intrauterine device, or a small device placed inside your uterus to help prevent pregnancy or help with period symptoms.

There are many different types of IUDs. There’s a non hormonal one, ParaGard and hormonal types Mirena, Lilleta and Kyleena. The ParaGard IUD has no hormones, it is made up of copper which repels sperm making and is an effective form of contraception. This IUD is preferred by patients who generally have no symptoms with their periods and want a non hormonal form of contraception.

The Mirena, Lilleta and Kyleena have one hormone, progesterone. This is different from regular birth control pills that tend to have estrogen and progesterone. In addition to preventing pregnancies, hormonal IUDs can lighten your periods and reduce cramps and pain associated with your period. IUDs are great for patients who are looking for a long term effective reversible form of contraception that they don’t have to take every day.

Our providers offer top of the line care for all your obstetrical and gynecological needs. We would love to answer questions about IUDs as well as all your gynecologic questions. Helping our patients find the right form of contraception is very rewarding and we look forward to working with you!

Please call to make an appointment today at 571-970-6050 or schedule a visit quickly and easily online: www.capitalwomenscareobgyn67.com.com.

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Today Dr. Hartman and Dr. Morrow with Elite Dental in Clarendon address this commonly asked question and explain why you may need a night guard in the first place.

Not to ruin the ending, however the short answer to the question “Can I just get an over-the-counter night guard?” is simply NO!

Before the dentists explain why an over the counter night guard is not a good idea, they’ll first talk about one of the major reasons most people need a night guard — teeth grinding.

What is bruxism?

Teeth grinding is fairly common. Studies show it can affect up to 40 million people (including kids). Grinding your teeth can cause discomfort in your jaw and facial muscles, and can lead to very expensive dental work if not properly treated.

Also known as bruxism, grinding or clenching can be caused by a number of factors such as stress, medications, an airway/sleep issue, or misalignment of the teeth. Side effects of grinding often include headaches, jaw pain, gum recession, damaged or fractured teeth, worn out enamel and tooth sensitivity, just to name a few.

How do you treat bruxism?

If you have jaw pain or think you grind your teeth, the first and most important step is to talk to your dentist to receive a proper diagnosis. When we evaluate for teeth grinding, we ask you questions about your symptoms and your sleep. This is important because many of our patients who grind their teeth don’t even know they do it! After an evaluation and diagnosis, your dentist can discuss treatment options. Many times, this will include a night guard.

What is a night guard?

A night guard is a protective mouth appliance worn on the top or bottom teeth when you sleep. A night guard prevents the teeth from grinding against each other and relaxes the muscles into their most natural, untensed position. When a custom night guard is properly fabricated by your dentist, it will not only protect the teeth from further wear, it will also relax the joint and jaw muscles to alleviate jaw pain, headaches and muscle tension.

So why can’t I get an over-the-counter night guard?

Patients may be tempted to purchase a night guard online or from the drugstore, but there are many drawbacks to using over the counter appliances. The boil-and-bite or over-the-counter guards can position the jaw in an unnatural way, causing discomfort immediately or over time.

With prolonged poor positioning, a patient’s pain in their joints often worsens and creates the possibility of permanent teeth repositioning and changes in your daily bite. Over-the-counter guards usually have a short life span and have to be frequently replaced too, especially when used by someone who grinds their teeth heavily.

So there you have it! The long-term potential for changes to the jaw, added pain and damage to your teeth can become more expensive and time-consuming than investing in a properly made custom night guard from the beginning. They are worth the investment when recommended by your dentist!

Dr. Hartman and Dr. Morrow practice at Elite Dental in Arlington, Virginia and are currently accepting new patients. Call 703-988-6963, or email [email protected] to schedule an appointment.

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Capital Women’s Care Division 67 is excited to welcome its newest OBGYN, Dr. Sali Jordan.

Dr. Sali Jordan has been involved in women’s health for as long as she can remember. Growing up with three sisters allowed her to develop her ability to counsel and educate women. Spending time at work with her mother who worked on International Women’s Health at the United Nations helped fuel that drive.

Dr. Jordan graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a Masters degree in Health Care Policy and Public Management. She went on to receive her medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church.

While there Dr. Jordan received multiple awards in outstanding research and resident education with multiple publications in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Green Journal. Her interests include high-risk obstetrics and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, preconception counseling and gynecologic care.

Dr. Jordan is a patient advocate with a passion for all aspects of women’s health from adolescents through post menopause. She believes in shared decision making and individualizing care.

She is a first time mom, and has said “Being a new mom has definitely affected the way I practice in a positive way and I hope to help my patients on their unique journeys.”

Dr. Jordan and her team promise comprehensive, quality and patient centered care.

Please visit us at capitalwomenscareobgyn67.com or call 571-650-9070 to book an appointment with a Dr. Jordan today.

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There are 234 students in Arlington Public Schools who have been granted an exemption from the state’s vaccine requirements for schools, according to APS officials.

The number of unvaccinated students is less than one percent (0.85%) of the total 27,521 students enrolled as of June of 2019. However, these numbers have proportionally doubled since 2015.

“We would need more time to investigate this thoroughly, however I believe it’s best attributed to the increase in student enrollment and how we’re capturing the data,” said Catherine Ashby, the Director of Communications for APS, in an email to ARLnow.

According to Virginia law, a family can request their child skip mandated vaccinations for valid medical or religious reasons.

“We are constantly communicating with APS so they can communicate with families,” said School Health Bureau (SHB) Chief Sarah N. Bell in a press release for the new school year. “What we don’t want is for any child to be excluded on the first day of school.”

The bureau collaborated with APS officials to check whether students are up to date on their vaccinations by the start of the school year.

This school year, Ashby said APS had 100% compliance for TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccines by the first day of school among the families who did not request an exemption. This is an improvement from the group of around 30 students who did not have their TDAP vaccinations up to date by the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

Debates around childhood vaccination exemptions came into the spotlight this year due to the onslaught of measles outbreaks. From January to September 5 the CDC confirmed 1,241 individual cases of measles, a disease once considered eradicated, across 31 states.

A July investigation from ABC 7 revealed 8,000 students who live and go to school in D.C. — whether public, private, charter, or parochial — do not meet proper vaccination requirements.

In Maryland, the rate of unvaccinated kindergarteners has nearly doubled over the last decade.

Currently there are four states which do not permit religious exemptions for vaccinations: New York, California, Mississippi, and West Virginia. Maine will remove the exemption in 2021.

File photo

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Excella, a Courthouse-based technology firm, has been selected as the lead partner in an effort to put together an app to detect alcohol misuse and risk of relapse.

The app, called Beacon, is designed to help medical professionals assess whether a patient is suffering from alcohol use disorder through a “combination of behavioral economics and advanced technology,” according to a press release. The product is still in development, but the goal is to be more effective than traditional methods of detecting alcohol abuse.

The company will utilize the work of Virginia Tech software development students at its Extension Center in Blacksburg. The company will also partner with Roanoke-based BEAM Diagnostics, Inc. to develop the app.

“The nation’s substance use epidemic presents massive challenges to every facet of our society, and we are committed to helping BEAM make the world better through tech innovation,” said Margaret Archer, Excella’s Director of University Programs. “Beacon is exactly the type of solution that our mentor-and-student development teams love to build, and we are happy to be a part of the solution.”

This isn’t Excella’s first foray into apps for a public good: the company previously developed MySpot, which helps homeless youth find nearby shelters and assistance. The press release also notes that the company has worked with government agencies for years to combat opioid fraud and abuse.

Image via Excella/Facebook

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Get excited — there’s a new doc in town!

Elite Dental is proud to announce their latest addition to their already fantastic team of dental professionals.

About Dr. Megan Morrow

Dr. Morrow was born and raised in Centreville, Virginia. She attended Boston College for her undergraduate studies where she was captain of the women’s swim team. She moved to Seattle where she received her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree at the University of Washington.

After ten years in Seattle, Dr. Morrow and her husband moved back to the D.C. metro area. She lives in D.C. and is having the best time getting reacquainted with the area.

Q&A:

What is your treatment plan philosophy?

I believe wholeheartedly that I’m treating people, not just their teeth. I like to get to know my patients and involve them in the entire treatment planning process. I practice conservative, comprehensive dentistry, and focus on educating my patients so that we can come up with a plan that works for both of us to best achieve their dental goals.

What are your favorite aspects of dentistry?

The technology is always changing in dentistry (as with the rest of the world), so staying on top of the education and research allows me to follow my passion for perpetual learning. I far exceed the licensing requirements for continuing education to make sure I’m up-to-date with the latest techniques. Dentistry is the perfect combination of technology, art and science, and all three keep me fascinated on a daily basis.

What are some tips for managing dental anxiety?

There are multiple studies that support more than half of the population has some form of dental anxiety which I do not take lightly! It’s natural to have some anxiety before a dental visit, but I’ve found it helps to at least vocalize your feelings and fears. From there, we can discuss ways to make your visit more comfortable.

We have everything from overhead TVs to help you watch your favorite shows while you’re in the chair, to sedation options for the very fearful. The number one tip I could give however, would be to maintain regular visits. The more you put off dental visits, the more issues and time intensive procedures in the future.

What is the best overall advice you would give your patients?

A healthy mouth is a healthy body. The link between oral health and heart disease is real; maintaining regular cleanings and check-ups can not only prevent expensive dental procedures and visits in the future, but can also prevent systemic conditions.

As much as I love seeing my patients, the less I see of them outside of regular cleanings means they’re taking excellent care of their teeth!

Elite Dental is conveniently located in Clarendon, about 2 blocks from the Clarendon Metro stop.

Call 703-991-5169 or email [email protected] to schedule a new patient appointment!

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