Sunshine Dentists in Burke, VA

We’re Passionate About General Dentistry in Burke

(And Northern Virginia Dental Hygiene)

In 2008, when Dr. Kristen Donohue took the helm of our dental office in Burke, she did so because of something that’s still true to her heart today, and throughout the decades: Dentistry isn’t her hobby. It’s what she loves and what we love — because we want you to love it too. When our door opens at 7 AM and closes at 4 PM, we rarely put away our dental tools and say goodbye to smiles. For the benefit of you and your smile, we provide general dentistry in Burke and Northern Virginia that’s more advanced because it’s something we:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Breathe

When you are passionate about something like this, you can easily continue to grow and evolve the types of services you can offer patients and improve the technology used to enhance their oral health.

Comprehensive Exams

You can’t talk about general dentistry in Burke and not also mention the importance of regular comprehensive exams. From your initial visit with your Sunshine Dentists to your six-month checkups, we’re always thorough and looking out for both your oral and overall health. All of our patients who come to us for Northern Virginia dental hygiene and more will receive a comfortable comprehensive exam. One of the first things we do is create your own personal photo library of what’s happening inside of your mouth. We capture precise images thanks to our highly advanced digital photo and x-ray technology. We don’t stop there. We’ll also chart your periodontal (gum) health and assess any signs of disease that need to be addressed. Next, we go from gums to a good night’s rest by conducting an evaluation of your risk for sleep apnea. From there we will go a screening of your mouth, lips, jaw, and neck to be on the lookout for any early warning signs for oral cancer. The earlier we detect any of these oral health issues, the less likely they are to damage your smile.

Oral Cancer Screenings

There’s something more than just being a dentist whose focus is solely on teeth. In today’s world of advanced science and technology, we now know that there’s a deep, intrinsic connection between our oral and overall health. This is one of the reasons why we include an oral cancer screening as part of our new patient and regular examinations. We pay close attention to what’s happening inside and around your mouth, because the earlier we detect anything out of the ordinary, the better your chances of treating the disease early. We use our highly skilled training and a keen eye to ensure that the early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and precancerous conditions are easily identified. During your exam, we are most commonly looking for:

  • Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
  • A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
  • A lump, thickening, or rough spot
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue

At your next dental appointment, don’t be alarmed if you hear the words oral cancer screening. As we said, the earlier we detect irregularities the better.


If you’re old enough to remember, there was a time when you heard the word “x-ray” and dreaded what would come next courtesy of a heavy lead vest and possible exposure to harmful radiation. Those days are over and your Sunshine Dentists only rely on the most advanced imaging technology available today to provide safe, reliable general dentistry in Burke. What’s amazing about digital x-rays is they’re immediately available for viewing via TV or computer monitor so that you can see exactly what your dentist is seeing simultaneously. We utilize both regular x-rays and also panoramic x-rays which provide us with a 360-degree view of your dental health. Digital x-rays are loved by patients and dentists because of their ability to provide several advanced imaging options designed to:

  • Save you time
  • Provide clearer photos
  • Allow for a more convenient treatment
  • Keep you safe from unwanted radiation exposure

Digital x-rays help us be able to remain focused on our ongoing goal of making all of your dental experiences with us comfortable and convenient.

Dental Hygiene

It’s difficult to have a healthy smile in and around Clifton without keeping up with your regular dental hygiene visits to Sunshine Dentists. This where our dentists and team can get to see what’s happening with your smile and if there have been any changes to your oral health. Before your initial cleaning, we ask you some questions about your previous dental care routine. Please let your dentist and hygienist know how often you receive teeth cleanings and whether you’ve struggled with tooth decay or gum disease in the past. Additionally, the next time you’re due for your Northern Virginia dental hygiene appointment, please let your dentists and hygienist know if you’ve had any health changes since we saw you last or if you’re taking any additional medications. This all added up to the valuable information our team needs to protect and perfect your oral health. Prior to your cleaning, your hygienist will explain how our Cavitron ultrasonic scaler works, making your procedure more comfortable and quiet. There’s even a fine mist of water used where the bubbling action coupled with the ultrasonic vibration waves can kill harmful bacteria. Learn more when you schedule your dental hygiene cleaning today!

Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal or gum therapy is just as important as brushing and flossing every day. Your gums play an integral, often overlooked role in your oral health. Without proper care, your gums can become riddled with bad bacteria, putting your oral and overall health in jeopardy.

At Sunshine Dentists, we don’t have a go-to, one-shot method for putting an end to periodontal disease. This is because no two patients, their smiles, and their gums are alike. We can create a highly-personalized periodontal solution for any patient. It’s simply part of what we do as premier providers of a variety of outstanding services for phenomenal general dentistry in Burke. Typical treatment plans might include:

  • Non-surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
  • More frequent visits for improved Northern Virginia dental hygiene
  • Periodontal or laser gum surgery
  • Long-lasting, durable dental implants

Don’t forget that regular dental checkups and gum health assessments are so important to maintain your oral and overall health. Don’t lose your gorgeous smile to periodontal disease.

Fluoride Treatments

When you think of fluoride, does your pediatric dentist come to mind? Sure, fluoride is super helpful and most widely used on developing teeth in children, and for the same reasons we recommend it for them is why we say adults should consider fluoride too. Even when adult teeth are healthy, strong, and disease-free, it can still be beneficial to receive routine fluoride treatments. Over time, various liquids and solids we love to consume can cause a buildup of harmful acids that love to break down your dental enamel. Once the bacteria makes it past the enamel, it feeds on some of the critical nutrients and minerals needed for a healthy smile. Fluoride is one of the most effective ways we can ensure your teeth will be in good shape and protected in the future, without the need to rebuild more enamel or minerals lost due to decay. We recommend both children and parents consider fluoride treatment at every visit with your Sunshine Dentists.


Your Sunshine Dentists will tell you that after practicing general dentistry in Burke for so many years, it’s not uncommon for us to hear patients confuse sports mouthguards with nightguards. Both types of guards serve the same amazing purpose of offering added protection for your teeth, but they tend to do so in different situations.

Sports Mouthguards – Popular with children athletes and parents alike, sports mouthguards protect smiles while engaging in high-intensity contact sports. We all know that nothing interrupts the game more than a dental emergency. Talk to us about creating a custom sports mouthguard suited for any activity such as football, basketball, and even non-contact sports like figure skating. We can help you find the right guard to keep you safe playing the sports you’ve always loved.

Nightguards – So many patients are unaware that they grind their teeth at night while they sleep. Sometimes you experience jaw pain, but you can’t quite figure out why. Other times your bed partner is the one who fills you in on your disruptive nighttime grinding. Whatever your case, bruxism can lead to broken, worn teeth and further dental issues down the road. Let us create a custom nightguard using precise impressions for the kind of comfort you can feel immediately.


Imagine not wanting to go to the dentist or have your teeth treated because the fear or anxiety of being in the dental office is too overwhelming. What if you’re someone who simply has a hard time sitting still over long periods of time? Are you a patient who finds they have a hard time becoming (and remaining) numb from certain anesthetics? If you can answer yes to one or any of these questions, then you might want to talk to your Sunshine Dentists about your sedation dentistry or anesthesia options.

Delivering dentistry safely with the help of anesthesia allows us to work closely with a medical anesthesiologist to provide IV sedation, while Dr. Donohue and Dr. Ellis complete your treatment safely and comfortably. Both doctors are also licensed by the American Dental Association, delivering care with professionalism and respect for every patient at all times. For patients requiring lighter sedation, we can show you how nitrous oxide inhalation can provide the relief you need. Nitrous oxide is very safe, and patients can drive to and from appointments, as it’s effects are gone once the patient begins breathing normal air.


Are you one of the millions of Americans who struggle daily with odd facial and neck pain? Do you have frequent headaches or migraines? Have been to your general practitioner or even a health care specialist only for them to prescribe pain medications and misdiagnose? Many patients looking for trusted general dentistry in Burke don’t know this, but these issues (and so many others) are oftentimes related to temporomandibular disorder (TMD) which affects your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These joints connect your jawbone to your skull. Your TMJ gets a lot of use throughout your everyday life as they’re responsible for:

  • Chewing
  • Speaking
  • Swallowing
  • Yawning

Patients who are experiencing TMD often tell us they’re experiencing pain and discomfort that’s disruptive to their normal life and restricts their movement.

Some of the most common symptoms we see can include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears
  • Headaches, neck pain, and jaw spasms
  • Facial swelling on both sides
  • Locked jaw or limited mobility

The first thing you’ll want to do if you notice any of these issues is to let Dr. Donohue or Dr. Ellis know. We can help detect the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment you can trust to be effective. Sometimes it can be as simple as creating a custom appliance for you that’s worn at night to reposition your bite and prevent teeth from clenching or grinding.

Emergency Care

Dental emergencies are the same as other emergencies, in that they can happen at any time or any place. If something does go wrong with your smile or if someone in your family needs help fast, please be sure to call Sunshine Dentists as soon as you can. If you or someone in our dental family needs attention when the office is closed, you can still call us! You will be directed to Dr. Donohue, Dr. Ellis, or one of our knowledgeable, friendly team members who are on call. If, for any reason, you’re unable to reach a dentist and you’re experiencing a true emergency, please call 911.

Some of the most common dental emergencies we see are:

  • Broken, cracked, or chipped teeth
  • A permanent tooth gets knocked out
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Severe, unending toothaches

Even though dental emergencies are rare, they do happen. We want you to know that Dr. Donohue, Dr. Ellis, and our team are here to help you any time, any day. When your dental health is at risk, we’ll go out of our way to make sure you’re seen as soon as possible.


We wouldn’t be able to provide such advanced, comfortable general dentistry in Burke if it wasn’t for the technology we’re equipped with. Thanks to so many changes and breakthroughs over the years, dentistry is becoming much more patient-friendly and less frustrating compared to the dated dental care of the past. Today, we have the tools that make it possible to give patients an exceptional dental experience from optimal dental hygiene to life-altering cosmetic dentistry transformations you must see to believe. Our Burke dental office features:

Digital and panoramic x-rays – Forget the old x-rays of the past. Our digital x-rays expose you to less radiation and provide immediate imaging you can see alongside your dentist.

Intraoral camera photography – For an even clearer vision of your oral health, we can also use intraoral cameras. This type of photography allows your Sunshine Dentists to see virtually every aspect of your teeth and mouth with such incredible detail. We can use it to uncover:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Unwanted plaque deposits
  • Cavities near fillings
  • Excessive dental wear

Cone beam – Dental cone beam computed tomography is imaging equipment that goes one step further than conventional digital x-rays. We use the cone beam to create impressive 3-D images of your teeth, bone, soft tissues, and nerve pathways in one easy scan.

Soft tissue laser – Many times we compare soft tissue laser work to “sculpturing of the gums.” Excessive or uneven gum tissue is no match for this laser that can painlessly modify tissue and enhance your look. This is a hallmark of Dr. Donohue’s general dentistry in Burke and makes her work look more natural in a non-invasive way. We can also use the laser to remove oral lesions for biopsy and releasing the tight ligament under the tongue (tongue-tied) or around the lips are also considered laser dentistry treatments.

Coming Clean About Northern Virginia Dental Hygiene

Has it been six or more months since you’ve seen the dentist? Have you missed a few cleanings, and now you’re worried about cavities? Relax and know that we’re never here to judge; we want to help you be your healthiest — from your teeth to your toes. Both Dr. Donohue and Dr. Ellis know that maintaining excellent oral health is essential to your ability to experience optimal overall health.

Prevention. Protection. Preservation.

One of the best aspects of general and family dental care is that it’s designed to help you and your smile live your best life. By that we mean for as many of the advancements dentistry can boast about over the years, there’s nothing better for you and your body than your natural teeth. General dentistry in Burke should focus on preventing dental issues, even minor ones. Because we all know it’s the little things that can add up or even turn into more extensive, more costly treatments down the road. We strive to protect and preserve your smile with solutions you can always trust as reliable and necessary. We’ll never say you need a treatment or work that won’t advance your smile goals. Get the care you want, when you need it, on your terms, with a team you can trust to do the right thing.

Payment Options Available
We can help you afford the best care.
To help our patients receive our compassionate Burke dental care, we accept most PPO's, as well as offer 3rd party financing like CareCredit.
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