What are the effects of teeth grinding?

Many people around the world suffer from teeth grinding and are usually unaware of their habit. While there are symptoms that you can look out for as signs of teeth grinding, there are usually other factors involved causing you to grind your teeth. As with other dental issues, dental health and overall health are very connected with one dependent on the other and vice versa. So we want to take a look at what causes teeth grinding in the first place and what can we do to control it or ease the symptoms?

Causes of teeth grinding

Grinding your teeth is usually accompanied by increased stress or anxiety. This happens to people of all ages. If you have a lot of stress or anxiety in your life, you could be grinding your teeth and not even realize it. While most of us do grind our teeth occasionally, it really becomes an issue if it is a constant habit, causing oral health problems.

Symptoms of teeth grinding

Since most harmful teeth grinding occurs during sleep, it can be hard to tell if you have an issue. The most common symptoms to keep and eye out for are headaches, sore jaw muscles, tooth sensitivity and others.

Effects on dental health:

Teeth grinding can cause serious dental issues and it can do damage to previous dental care. Grinding can cause wear on tooth surfaces, chips or cracks in the teeth, increased tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, gum recession, dental decay, and more.

So how can we treat it?

Some home remedies can be to reduce your stress and anxiety. Try to calm down and relax. Learn to give your jaw a break. You can massage the jaw muscles to release tension or use a warm wash rag to hold on your jaw to help relax the muscles. In addition to these, it is highly recommended that you see your dentist right away if you are experiencing teeth grinding. It is best to catch the issue early and do the least amount of damage possible.

If you or someone you know is experiencing teeth grinding, take a closer look at the issue and try to prevent any further damage. If you have and concerns or if you would like to schedule an appointment with us for your teeth grinding, give us a call. We look forward to helping you get back on track and get your teeth looking as healthy as can be.

Wisdom tooth removal

Usually beginning in your early adult years, the four or less furthest back teeth in your mouth, your wisdom teeth, may begin to give you problems. It is very common for people to have these teeth removed to prevent any overcrowding or decay. Some people have enough room in their mouths to keep their wisdom teeth without experiencing any complications or problems. So at what point is it recommended that you remove your wisdom teeth?

Impacted teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth means that the wisdom tooth is disturbing other teeth or is growing in at an odd angle, getting trapped partially under gums. This can result in pain, food particles getting stuck and tooth decay. Leaving an impacted tooth can alter the way that your teeth sit in your mouth, causing your teeth to go crooked. If you have ever had orthodontic work, this is a bad idea. Having impacted teeth is the most common reason for wisdom tooth removal.

The procedure

If it is deemed necessary that your wisdom teeth must be removed, at your scheduled appointment for your wisdom teeth extraction you will be given anesthesia to put you to sleep during the duration of the surgery. Your dentist may need to remove some gums or bone that may be covering your tooth, if necessary. Then they will be able to properly remove the tooth and sew the wound with stitches.

Recovery

Your dentist will prescribe pain medication to take during your recovery time, which usually only lasts a couple of days or so. You will want to relax during this time and eat foods that you don’t have to chew. You will want to avoid touching the wound in anyway for the first couple of days to ensure that it will heal properly. Keep and ice pack to reduce the swelling and inflammation.

Wisdom teeth removal can be a bit scary to people, but it is a very common and necessary procedure to preventative dental health. By removing your wisdom teeth, if needed, you protect yourself from future complications and infections. So do yourself a favor and check with your dentist about your wisdom teeth, just because they aren’t causing a problem now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with us to determine your wisdom teeth needs, give us a call. Don’t hesitate to come to us with any additional concerns or questions.

Purpose and process of dental sealants

You can feel and see that our teeth, especially our molars, have several groves and dents. The way that our teeth are shaped presents a risk for food particles and plaque to get caught in, causing decay. By sealing our teeth with a thin coating, we provide an extra barrier of protection for our teeth, keeping them healthier, longer. Sure we can brush and floss our teeth, as we should, but sometimes bacteria can get caught in the crevasses of our teeth and cause cavities.

Sealants are made of different types of materials and the specifics vary from dentist to dentist. The basic principles are the same. Your dentist will prepare your tooth by cleaning it thoroughly; adjust the tooth’s surface to ensure a secure and solid bond, and apply the sealant to the tooth while ensuring that it dries quickly and properly.

Sealants are recommended for almost anyone that would like to maximize the protection of their teeth. However, most often, sealants are performed on children and adolescents that are developing their adult teeth. By sealing the teeth at this cavity prone age, you and help protect your child’s teeth from cavities for about 10 years post-sealant!

Upkeep for sealants is simple, have your dentist check for chips in the sealant and monitor the wear to best project when you may need to get your teeth resealed.

To keep your sealants in tip top shape, avoid eating especially hard or gummy foods such as jawbreakers, licorice, caramels, etc. as these foods could cause your sealant to pop out of place.

Sealants are a major factor in preventative dental care. Protecting your teeth from harmful decay and cavities will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in the future.

Most dental insurance providers cover dental sealants, however, it is always a good idea to check beforehand, just in case. We recommend contacting your insurance provider directly before making an appointment for dental sealants.

Once you’re ready, make an appointment with your dentist! Getting dental sealants is a fairly simple dental procedure and will really benefit your overall dental health in the long run. You already brush and floss your teeth, now is the time to take your preventative dental care to the next level.

To schedule an appointment with us to discuss dental sealants or to seal your teeth, give us a call!

How to avoid dental injuries

As we see summer come to an end, we can expect school to be right around the corner. In no time, football games, swimming and diving competitions along with so many other contact sports will be in full swing. With all of these physical activities comes some concern for dental injuries. So how can you protect your children’s smiles while encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities?

The most common solution to preventing dental injuries from sports is the use of a mouth guard.

With almost any major sport that children participate in, mouth guards are recommended or required. These typically cover the upper teeth to protect broken or chipped teeth as well as damaged lips. For those of you with some other form of orthodontia, talk to your dentist for recommended solutions.

So how do mouth guards work exactly?

There are several different types of mouth guards to choose from, however, it is necessary that whichever moth guard you chose does not restrict your breathing and fits properly or it could not work as well as it should.

Custom mouth guards are designed by your dentist to fit your teeth as comfortably as possible and provide you the best protection against dental damage.

Boil and Bite mouth guards are made in a pre-formed shape that is designed to be altered after boiling in hot water and biting down on the plastic for a recommended amount of time, offering a decent fit and comfort. Be sure to follow directions closely to ensure the best fit and protection.

Stock mouth guards are ready to wear when you buy them, however they provide the least protection and worst fit, but it is better than no protection!

Whichever style of mouth guard you decide to choose for your needs, make sure you change it out every so often as it can get quite nasty with all of the bacteria present in your mouth. To reduce the amount of times you will need to change it out, take extra precaution to keep it clean.

When it comes time for you or your children to shop for a mouth guard for sports related uses, talk to your dentist for recommendations and help deciding which option will be best for you.

If you have any additional questions about dental safety and sports or if you would like to ask us specific questions related to your dental needs, give us a call.

Health benefits of having straight teeth

We all know how important it is to care for our teeth and overall oral health. Brushing is a must and don’t forget to floss! We want to keep our teeth in tiptop shape, avoiding harmful foods that can destroy our enamel and cause us cavities. But one area of oral health that we often overlook is straight teeth! Orthodontics is mainly thought of as a cosmetic dentistry treatment. So how can having straight teeth help benefit your oral health?

Here are some of the benefits to having a straight smile:

Healthier gums –

Having straight teeth allows for your gums to fit properly around your teeth, reducing the risks of periodontal disease. When teeth are too crowded, it can be difficult to clean in between teeth, which will ultimately cause gum issues.

Cleanliness –

To piggyback off of the prior benefit, having an orderly set of pearly whites makes space for easier brushing and flossing. There will be fewer crevasses and spaces open for food or plaque build up. Build up of food particles and plaque will eventually lead to tooth decay.

Less tooth wear and abnormal bite –

With straight teeth, they sit in each other, for less wear on enamel. When teeth are crooked they can rub on each other, wearing them down over time. Along with the rubbing, crooked teeth can cause an abnormal bite, whether it be an overbite or under bite. Having a serious bite issues can cause difficulty chewing.

Reduces headaches –

Crooked teeth can cause stress on the gums and jaw, oftentimes resulting in misalignment of the jaw. When the jaw is out of place with tension and stress placed on it, you may experience headaches.

Overall health –

It has been proven that when you improve your oral health, you will in turn improve your overall health. You will reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, gum disease and many other health concerns.

If you are interested in straightening your teeth and improving your smile as well as your health, we have several options you can choose from. You are welcome to give us a call or set up an appointment to discuss which option may be best for you.

We want you to look and feel the best that you can. Let us know how we can help you and we will do our best to accommodate you and improve your oral health.

 

 

 

 

Food for your teeth

Having a well balanced diet and fueling your body with the proper nutrition is so important for your overall health, however, it also contributes to the health of your teeth in tremendous ways! The make up of certain foods can be damaging to your oral health and being low in certain nutrients can make your teeth more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. It’s pretty self explanatory that eating sugary or acidic foods is damaging to your oral health, but let’s go over some foods that are beneficial for your teeth!

Cheese

Cheese contains several nutrients, like protein and calcium that are known to strengthen tooth enamel. This helps prevent tooth decay and raise pH levels in the mouth.

 Yogurt

 Again, another dairy product, like cheese yogurt contains protein and calcium. The probiotics present in yogurt are beneficial to the bacteria in your mouth because the good bacteria kick out the bad bacteria that are known to cause cavities. Side note: Yogurt can have added sugars, so just keep an eye out for that if you decide to add yogurt to your diet for oral health benefits.

 Green veggies

 Green vegetables are healthy in almost any context. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that are known to improve oral health. Spinach and kale especially, have high calcium content, which is beneficial to tooth enamel.

 Almonds

 Bringing back high protein and calcium, almonds are a great snack to add to your diet for positive oral health results. Eat them plain or add them to a salad!

 Apples

 While we normally don’t recommend sugary, sweet foods, apples are an exception. This tasty fruit is packed with fiber and the texture is great for gum stimulation.

 Carrots

 Carrots are a quick and easy healthy snack to munch on throughout the day. They are also full of fiber and contain wonderful vitamins and minerals.

If you’re looking to change up your diet to benefit your oral health, consider adding a few of these healthy suggestions! Be sure you are fueling your body with the right stuff, giving it all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs and deserves. By keeping a healthy diet, you will be sure to improve your dental situation as well.

Do you have any specific questions regarding foods for your oral health or any diet related questions, we’d be happy to get you headed in the right direction. Call us anytime!

Cavities and your Kids

We often forget that children can develop cavities at any age. From before their first tooth comes in, it is important to care for your child’s oral health. Cavities and tooth decay are almost always preventable with a healthy diet, great dental hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings and check ups. However, despite it’s preventability, tooth decay remains one of the most common childhood health issues. The rate of cavities in children and toddlers is becoming a serious issue and it is growing. We are seeing tooth decay and cavities form on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth, which can have negative effects on a child’s overall health.

Below, we will give you some tips on how you can help prevent cavities and tooth decay in your child’s teeth.

Dental Visits: When and how often?

This varies from patient to patient, but to be safe, we recommend making an appointment with your family dentist as soon as your child has their first tooth. This allows us to show you proper techniques to caring for such little teeth and preventing cavities. We will also let you know when you should bring your child back in for their next check up.

Care for your own dental health.

Sharing things like utensils, straws, or anything else that can transmit saliva can bring harm to your kid’s teeth. There are specific cavity germs that are easily transmittable through saliva, so be sure you are keeping your dental hygiene in check too!

Limit the sugar intake.

For the younger kids, it is very important to limit the sugar you allow in their diet. This not only helps their dental health but it also helps their overall health. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle, but if you feel you have to try to stick to water.

At each stage in life, there are different guidelines to caring for your child’s teeth. This is why it is so important to visit the dentist regularly and follow their guidelines for at home care. Also take into consideration your own dental health and the eating habits of your children and your family.

We know how important it is to develop healthy dental habits from a young age.

If you’d like to meet with us about cavities in children, or if you have any other questions or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call!

Denture Care

There are a couple different types of dentures ranging from a complete set of teeth to a partial set of teeth. This type of dental service is useful in cosmetic situations as well as functional situations, when it comes to eating or talking. The most important part about dentures is that they help you while remaining a comfortable piece of dental wear. As all dentures are custom fit for you, it is really important that you keep your dentures in good condition.

We have some tips to help you keep your dentures in tip-top shape!

Brush and Rinse:

Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed and rinsed everyday. Do not use a toothbrush or tooth paste made for real teeth, instead, use products created specifically for dentures, as this will reduce the risk of any scratches or other damages.

Use a Denture Cleaner:

After brushing all of the plaque and food debris from your dentures, use a denture cleaner. Ask your dentist about which dental cleaner you should use and specifics on how to use it properly. Usually, you will submerge the dentures in the solution for a given amount of time, letting them soak to get them extra clean!

Avoid:

Steer clear of abrasive materials like rough bristles. Do not use whitening products or bleach. Hot water is also not recommended. Avoid using these things as they can cause issues to your dentures.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly:

As with any dental service, it is important to know that everything is going well. This will ensure that you are maintaining a good dental health and that your dentures fit and work properly. If you are having any issues with your dentures, your dentist will be able to work with you to fix the issue.

Keep these tips in mind while caring for your dentures. Take care of them as if they were your natural teeth and always keep your dentist in the loop. They are there to recommend specifics to all of the tips listed above.

If you have been considering dentures and are not sure if they are the right option for you, give us a call or make an appointment with us and we can discuss your situation and what options you have. We know dental care can be a tricky area to navigate, but we are here to help you through the process.

Concerns Surrounding Sedation Dentistry

We all know how important it is to visit your dentist regularly for check ups and cleanings. This is the best way to prevent serious dental issues. Visiting your dentist regularly also gives your dentist the opportunity to notify you of any other dental services you may need or that you may be interested in. Many people experience serious anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist and sometimes sedation dentistry is recommended.

Sedation dentistry is recommended for patients that are sensitive to pain, have a bed gag reflux, have dental anxiety or are getting a more invasive procedure done.

While sedation dentistry is very beneficial, there are some common concerns we’d like to address to ease your mind in the case that sedation dentistry is recommended for your dental care.

Who can administer sedation?

Across the board, the majority of dentists can administer some form of sedation, however, depending on the type of sedation, special accreditations may be required. For example, for a very deep sedation your dentist must have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation program. Many dental offices even have a designated dental anesthesiologist. Typically, dental surgeons are also qualified to administer sedation. And sedation techniques vary from state to state, so if you have concerns about that, talk to your local dentists office.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

As with anything health related, your dentist should go over your family’s health history for any signs of issues you may have. As previously stated, sedation techniques vary, so ask your dentist what the dosage is for your age and what the specific rules are for your state. Know about your dentist and be sure that they are qualified and have the proper training. Make sure your dentist stays up to date on dental advancements.

Sedation dentistry is proven to be safe and effective under the right circumstances. The most important part of safety when it comes to sedation dentistry is having the right dentist. Do your homework and make sure you chose a dentist that has the proper training as well as good patient reviews or testimonials. You want a dentist that takes their work seriously and puts their patients first, making sure they feel comfortable and safe so they can receive the proper dental care that they need.

If you have any other concerns surrounding sedation dentistry, give us a call or schedule an appointment to discuss your options of sedation dentistry.

 

How Often Should you Brush Your Teeth?

shutterstock_284497142_720How often do you brush your teeth?

The standard that many people grew up hearing from their dentist is “Brush twice a day.” But when should you brush? What if you can only brush one time – when should you do it to be most effective? If twice is good then would four times be better? Is there a bad time to brush?

Our basic advice – Brush twice a day for two minutes each time.

To make things a little more clear we have some additional tidbits for you to keep in mind.

The Culprits –

  • Sugary foods, especially sticky or liquid varieties that coat your teeth, is food for bacteria. As the bacteria metabolize the sugar they produce acids that lead to gum disease and cavities.
  • Acidic foods are just as detrimental to teeth for the same reasons as sugary foods. Except they’re acidic from the very beginning.
    Did you know that the pH of a diet soda is about the same as household vinegar?

The Problem –

Eating or drinking something acidic lowers the pH of a mouth and it can take a long time for it to return to normal. Acid demineralizes your teeth and weakens the tooth surface, leaving it vulnerable to decay.

The Exacerbation –

Brushing your teeth while your mouth’s pH level is too low can actually cause more damage. Your toothbrush and toothpaste are abrasive and will etch your weakened tooth surface even more. Waiting at least thirty minutes will allow your saliva to stabilize your pH.

Your toothbrush can cause more damage just by how it’s made. Nylon threads are sliced to make an even row of bristles, but the cut leaves a very jagged edge on the bristles. Most high quality toothbrushes will undergo another step that softens the edges into domes. The rounded edges are far less abrasive on your teeth but just as effective at removing debris. Even if your toothbrush had rounded edges when you took it out of the package, regular use will cause them to get worn back, jagged, and split – making them more abrasive. When you start noticing your toothbrush getting worn go ahead and replace it. If you wait until the bristles are splayed then it’s too late.

The Alternatives –

  • Rinse your mouth with water. This will help restore your mouth’s pH to a normal level. R
  • Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash will help to prevent plaque from producing more acids which is a big step in keeping your pH levels balanced as well.
  • Chew some cheese. Chewy things will make you salivate, and the proteins in your saliva help to block the acids. And the chemicals that naturally occur in cheese help to re-mineralize teeth.
    Having a little cheese with your wine is good for your health!
  • Sugarless gum is another great option. Again, the chewing action stimulates your saliva production which, in turn, helps to balance your mouth’s pH. Some studies have also shown that Xylitol, a sweetening agent, has properties that prevent cavities.

The Timing –

Bedtime is the most critical time to brush your teeth. You salivate less at bedtime which allows bacteria and acids to spend more time weakening your tooth surface. If you brush before bed then you’ll be reducing the number of culprits that can damage your teeth.

So to answer our earlier questions – You should brush before bedtime and thirty minutes after eating a sugary or acidic mea. If you can only brush once, brush before bed. Brushing more often is not necessarily better because you could potentially be weakening your teeth. The worst time to brush is after eating or drinking something acidic – rinse with water instead.

We want to see you every six months for your regular visits, but we’d prefer not to tell you that you need fillings or worse. Call us to schedule an appointment!

 

Here’s a little cheat sheet –

Brush 2x a day.
Brush for at least 2 minutes each time.
If you can only brush once, brush at bedtime.
Rinse with water after sugary or acidic foods.
Use new, good quality brushes.