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Grinding Bruxism To A Halt

June 19th, 2018

GRINDING OR CLENCHING YOUR teeth is a pretty normal thing to do when you’re annoyed or stressed, and that’s nothing to worry about. However, if you grind your teeth on a more regular basis, whether asleep or awake, it can become a serious problem. This kind of chronic teeth-grinding is known as bruxism.

Why Does Bruxism Happen?

Sleep bruxism, also called nocturnal bruxism, is sometimes the side-effect of sleep apnea or snoring, while awake bruxism (diurnal bruxism) can be a side-effect of stress. However, not everyone with bruxism is dealing with a sleep disorder or stress, and everyone with a sleep disorder or a lot of stress in their lives will have bruxism. Improperly aligned teeth can also cause bruxism.

Watch this video on the link between TMJ, Sleep Apnea and Bruxism.

Bruxism Symptoms

Treatment for bruxism can sometimes be tricky because there isn’t a single clear cause, so the focus tends to be on reducing symptoms and minimizing the damage. You might not be consciously aware of a teeth-grinding habit, but if you experience at least some of the following symptoms, it could be because of bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore in the morning, whereas with awake bruxism, it’ll be most sore in the evening)
  • Frequent headaches from the constant strain
  • Overdeveloped jaw muscles (because you’re giving them a major workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, cracked, or split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Bruxism Treatment

There are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes, depending on the type of bruxism you have.

Behavioral Therapy

You can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits with behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques and consciously work to stop. Because it’s much harder to control what your jaw muscles do in your sleep, this option tends to work better for awake bruxism.

Relaxation

Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding if your bruxism is stress-related.

Prescribed Medication

Medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping, but muscle relaxant medication prescribed by your doctor might help you unclench while you sleep.

We Can Help You Stop The Grind!

Schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms. It may be due to bruxism, and we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.

Help us help you keep your teeth healthy!

 

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Fighting Back Against Oral Cancer

April 17th, 2018

ORAL CANCER IS A SUBJECT we’d all prefer not to have to think about, but it’s critical to have a basic understanding of risk factors and symptoms. More than 50,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with oral cancer last year, and that number is expected to rise. That’s why, in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we’re dedicating a blog post to giving our patients the tools they need for early detection.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing oral cancer. Some of them are out of our control, such as age and sex. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, and it is far more common in people over 45. But there are plenty of risk factors that we can control, the biggest of which is tobacco. A whopping 85 percent of oral cancer cases are linked to some kind of tobacco use (even e-cigarettes). The next biggest avoidable risk factor is frequent, heavy alcohol consumption.

A few of the less-obvious risk factors include getting too much sun (which can cause lip cancer), HPV, and neglecting your oral hygiene, particularly if you also smoke. You can eliminate this risk factor by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental appointments!

Symptoms To Watch Out For

Unfortunately, even people with none of these risk factors will sometimes develop oral cancer anyway, which is why it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms, which include:

  • A sore in the mouth or on the lip that doesn’t heal
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth
  • Unusual lump on lip, mouth, neck, or throat, or strange thickness in the cheek
  • Persistent sensation of having something stuck in the throat
  • Numbness of mouth or tongue
  • Difficulty with chewing or swallowing
  • Chronic bad breath

If you do have one or more of the risk factors for oral cancer, getting regular general health screenings can catch it before you even notice any symptoms. The earlier oral cancer is caught, the easier it is to beat it.

Check out this video.

Where Does The Dentist Fit In?

Another way oral cancer is caught early is at regular dental exams! In addition to checking your teeth for cavities and your gums for signs of gum disease, we can spot many of those early symptoms of oral cancer while we’re looking at your mouth, which is just one more reason why it’s so important to keep scheduling your dental appointments!

Even if you don’t have oral cancer or any of the risk factors, you can still help the people who are fighting this disease. Ask us how you can get involved!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Let Those Insurance Benefits Expire!

November 14th, 2017

2017 IS ALMOST OVER, and that means it’s time to talk about dental insurance. Most dental plans don’t let the benefits roll over into the next year if they go unused. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of all your benefits, then now is the time to do so!


Is Your Coverage Compatible?

Although our office does not participate with any insurance plans, we still submit your dental visit claim to your insurance plan so that you may be reimbursed. There is a large variety of dental plans that our patients are covered by, therefore, we are unable to know your specific benefits. When scheduling, you may want to contact your insurance carrier to determine the balance of your remaining benefits for the 2017 calendar year. Denise and Nicole are available to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.

Commonly Covered Procedures

The majority of insurance plans cover fillings at 80% and crowns at 50%.  You can always reach out to your individual plan for more specific details, as each plan's coverage may vary.  Routine clinical hygiene appointments and check-up films are typically covered at the highest percentage, so we recommend that our patients maximize their benefits by making sure they are scheduled every 6 months.

What To Do Before The Year Ends

Give our office a call. Denise or Nicole can check if you have any outstanding treatment that should be completed before the end of the year, or to make sure you are on schedule for your routine clinical hygiene and check-up appointments.

We Can’t Wait To See You!

We’re always looking out for our patients and want to make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your benefits! If you have any questions regarding dental insurance, stop by or call us today and we can help!

The greatest benefits are to your dental health!

Managing That Halloween Sweet Tooth

October 24th, 2017

HALLOWEEN is our favorite spooky time of year, but when it comes to sugar’s effects on teeth, all that candy can be downright scary. The reason sugar is bad for our teeth is that it feeds harmful oral bacteria that excrete acid, and the acid erodes enamel and leads to tooth decay. So how can we keep our costumed Halloween adventures clear of tooth decay?

                                     Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Ranking Candy On Dental Health

Very few houses give away treats like sugar-free xylitol gum to trick-or-treaters, so the chances are slim that the candy will actually be healthy. However, some types of sugary candy are worse than others, or present different kinds of problems.

  • Hard candy is a problem because there’s a risk of breaking our teeth if we chew it, but sucking on it isn’t safe either because that means holding a source of sugar in our mouths for an extended period.
  • Sour candies are like a double attack against dental health, because not only do they contain a lot of sugar to feed the bacteria, but they are also highly acidic, so they can harm our enamel directly!
  • Sticky or gummy candy is especially bad for teeth because it remains stuck there, feeding the bacteria for a long time and giving them a larger opportunity to attack the enamel.
  • The good news is that the least harmful sugary candy is chocolate! It doesn’t stick to teeth like most other candies, and the cocoa in it has many beneficial properties. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar will be in it, so aim for dark chocolate.

Reducing The Candy Quantity

Being picky about which types of candy we eat is one way to reduce the risk of tooth decay, but an even better way to do that is by simply eating less candy. As parents, we can help our children out with this by coming up with a plan before trick-or-treating time. We could let them trade the bulk of their candy haul for some kind of non-candy prize or limit the number of houses they visit. We just have to make sure to discuss the plan with them in advance.

More Tooth-Healthy Strategies

There are a few other simple things you can do to reduce the dental effects of all that Halloween candy. You can drink more water to rinse out the sugar, limit the frequency of candy consumption more than the quantity, and wait thirty minutes after eating candy to brush your teeth. The reason for that last one is that it takes your saliva about half an hour to stabilize the pH of your mouth after eating sugar.

Candies to cut down on.

Keeping Teeth Healthy Year-Round

The Halloween season will come to an end, but the job of keeping our teeth healthy is never done! Make sure you’re always brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, keeping those sugary treats to a minimum, and scheduling regular dental visits!

Have a spooky Halloween!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.