Posts for: September, 2012
“Just grin and bear it”, is often the advice we are given to cope with stress. If you take it literally, the result could be grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws. It’s called bruxism, and often it happens as you sleep.
Other things such as anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or teeth that are missing or crooked can cause teeth grinding. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
-teeth that are painful or loose
To protect your teeth we can fit you with a mouth guard to wear during sleep. In some cases, your physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause, you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling, and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.
Teeth grinding is common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence.
Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:
-irritation in the mouth
If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding or your own, please contact us at 937-434-8870 or [email protected].
The Almoney and Brown Dental Team
Whether you call it bad breath or halitosis, it’s an unpleasant condition that’s not only a cause for embarrassment but also may indicate a more serious dental health problem. If you’re concerned about bad breath, it is important to have your teeth and gums examined. Bad breath can be caused by a number of sources, and an exam can help identify the cause and determine the best treatment.
What causes bad breath?
- Food: Certain foods, like onions and garlic, affect the air you exhale. As your body digests and metabolizes the food, the air you breath out will be affected. Also, if you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food can remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, and resulting in bad breath. Dieters may also develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
- Gum disease: Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can also be one of the warning signs of gum disease. When bacteria infects gum pockets, bad breath will develop. Without treatment, gum disease can result in teeth becoming loose and eventually needing to be removed.
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth occurs when the flow of saliva decreases and can be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. Without enough saliva, food particles stick to the teeth and gums and result in mouth odors.
- Smoking and tobacco: In addition to staining teeth and being bad for overall health, tobacco use is a common cause of bad breath. Tobacco use causes irritation to gum tissues, increases the risk of periodontal disease and oral cancers. By eliminating smoking and other tobacco products, you not only improve your breath but also reduce your risk to other health problems.
- Medical conditions: Some diseases have symptoms related to bad breath. Sinus or lung infections, bronchitis, diabetes, and some liver or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
How can you treat bad breath?
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Since most breath issues are caused by bacteria in the mouth, proper brushing, flossing and tongue cleaning will help reduce or eliminate bad breath. Also, be sure you are cleaning dentures, partials and retainers everyday.
- Treat gum disease: If you suffer from gum disease, it is important to get appropriate and early treatment. This may include deeper and more frequent cleanings, antibiotic therapy, or gum surgery. Without treatment, there is a risk of infection and tooth loss.
- Eliminate tobacco use and foods that cause bad breath.
- Treat dry mouth by using products such as Biotene to keep the mouth moist.
- Use sugar-free mints and gum but remember this only masks the bad breath and does not eliminate it.
- Schedule regular cleanings and exams to keep the teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, call our office to make an appointment. Regular checkups allow us to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth. If we determine that your mouth is healthy, we would be able to refer you to your primary care physician to evaluate any systemic problems.
The Almoney and Brown Dental Team
Cracked Teeth- All Cracks Are Not Equal
As people are living longer and keeping their teeth longer, cracked teeth are becoming more and more common. Teeth are made up of hard crystalline structures and can develop cracks for a number of reasons. First, as teeth age, they become susceptible to cracking from years of chewing. Cracks also occur due to trauma such as a sports injury, bad habits like chewing on ice, grinding or clenching the teeth, and thermal cycling between eating hot and cold foods or drinks. Also, teeth that have existing fillings are more likely to develop cracks since the remaining tooth structure is thinner and weaker.
Some cracks are superficial and develop no symptoms over time. Others start out as minor cracks but progressively worsen with time and can become painful. Sometimes cracks are severe from the start. As cracks worsen, symptoms such as sensitivity to biting and temperature are common and even a tooth ache can develop.
Cracks usually don’t show up on x-rays so it can be challenging to judge the depth and severity of the crack. Some methods we use to analyze the extent of the fractures include biting tests, feeling the tooth surface for a separation of tooth structure, shining a light through the tooth, and evaluating the length of the crack on the tooth surface or under an existing filling.
Cracks can often be prevented. For patients that grind their teeth, wearing a mouth guard at night helps protect the teeth. Being careful to not chew ice, hard foods such as candy or popcorn kernels will reduce the chances for causing a crack. For those who play contact sports, it is paramount to wear an athletic mouth guard to protect the teeth from trauma. Foods that are extreme in temperature like hot coffee or cold ice cream can cause cracks to develop over time, especially in those who consume such products on a regular basis.
Once a crack is present, it is critical to get the appropriate treatment as soon as possible. If the crack is superficial and non-symptomatic, treatment may not be indicated. A photo can be taken of the tooth to help determine if the crack is worsening over time. If the crack is deep or symptomatic, then usually a crown is used to restore the tooth and prevent further fracturing. When a crack gets deeper into the tooth, it may irritate the nerve and require root canal treatment. Ultimately, if a tooth breaks due to a deep crack, the tooth may need to be extracted.
When a crown is placed on a cracked tooth, it helps strengthen the tooth and helps prevent further fracturing. However, a crown does not guarantee that the tooth can be saved forever. Should the crack worsen or bacteria enter the tooth through the crack, the tooth may need a root canal or extraction.
The most important part of treating a cracked tooth is early diagnosis, eliminating the cause of the crack and appropriately restoring the tooth. In most cases, a cracked tooth can be saved with appropriate and timely treatment. The longer a crack goes untreated, the more risk there is for tooth loss.
If you are concerned you might have a cracked tooth or have questions about how to prevent cracks from forming, please contact our office at 937-434-8870 or [email protected].
The Almoney and Brown Dental Team