Dental Tips Blog

Nov
12

Flat Teeth: Three Causes

Posted in TMJ Therpy

When you look in the mirror, do your teeth look flat, sharp, or jagged? In reality, their biting edges should have a nice, smooth contour. Here are three reasons why your enamel may be starting to look flatter over the years:

End-to-End Alignment 

The older we get, our teeth start to shift toward the middle-front portion of our mouth. This can cause upper and lower teeth to bite against each other irregularly. When this happens, your healthy tooth enamel actually wears itself down…causing flat biting edges.

Getting braces can help to fine-tune your bite and give you more time out of your smile, rather than fast-forward you into needing extensive dental work.

Bruxism / Grinding 

A stressful lifestyle can give you headaches, but you might be deferring some of that stress to your teeth. When you bite down firmly because of muscle tension, project due dates, or bad traffic, it wears your bite down quicker than it should. This can make your smile look like it’s decades older than it really is.

Your dentist may recommend anything from wearing a splint, to muscle relaxers. Usually, the first step is to consciously train yourself to not clench your teeth. It can take a bit of practice!

Misaligned Jaws 

Your upper and lower jaws should fit together the right way, allowing your entire mouth to function efficiently day after day. Irregular jaw shape, size, or alignment can alter the occlusion (biting relationship) of all your teeth. In addition to seeing worn enamel, you might also experience symptoms of TMJ disorder.

Talk to your dentist today to find out how you can prevent future damage to your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Alluvial Dental Center
1875 E Alluvial Ave
Fresno, CA 93720
559-325-0700

Oct
16

What Stress is Doing to Your Smile

Almost all of us experience some severe and even chronic stress in our lives. Taking a good look at your oral health can alert you to any possible changes you should be making in your routine.

Bad Habits

Nail-biting, lip-chewing, cheek-chomping, pen-nibbling . . . none of these are good for you or your teeth. Yet they’re so hard to break!

Bruxism

This unconscious habit of grinding and/or clenching the teeth is a dangerous one. It can lead to TMJ issues, a chipped tooth, gum recession, and worn enamel, to name a few problems.

Poor Nutrition

Poor eating habits often piggyback on stressful situations. Stress is behind excessive alcohol, sugar, and fat consumption. You might even be prone to skipping meals. At any rate, poor nutrition deprives your mouth of the vitamins it needs to fight disease.

Cosmetic Damage

It’s no surprise that stress can trigger those dreaded worry lines around the eyebrows and mouth. Constant tension can simply reduce the number of times you smile in a day and that’s certainly not attractive.

Gum Disease

Studies have shown a link between stress and the rate at which gum disease (periodontitis) progresses. This is likely because anxiety levels impair your body’s ability to fight off infection.

We’ve considered just a few areas of oral health that are affected by stress. But you probably get the idea by now that your teeth are closely connected to virtually every other body system. Take care of your health, take care of your smile! Talk with your doctor about reducing stress in your life and ask your dentist how to keep stress from taking a toll on your teeth.

Posted on behalf of:
Midgette Family Dentistry
3326 Taylor Rd
Chesapeake, VA 23321
757-214-9649

Nov
26

Is Your Bite Stronger Than Your Crown?

Did you know that humans have set records of biting with a force exceeding 200 pounds? Our jaws are meant to pack a powerful bite! This can come in handy when we put away our favorite foods, but it can occasionally be a problem.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for clenching and grinding your teeth. Bruxism usually happens when you’re asleep, so you might not even know that you have this habit! Teeth grinding and clenching is closely linked to stress and can be damaging to teeth, gums, and your TMJ.

Some signs of bruxism include:

  • Reports from others that you grind your teeth in your sleep
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gum recession
  • Flat-looking teeth
  • Aching teeth
  • Jaw pain

How Teeth Grinding Affects Your Crown

Over a hundred pounds of pressure wearing on a crown could cause it to fracture, loosen, or wear down the opposing tooth. Just as natural teeth are harmed by bruxism – your fillings, crowns, and other dental restorations are also at risk!

Don’t Let Bruxism Ruin Your Crown!

What can you do if you grind your teeth? If one crowned tooth is wearing down another, a simple solution is to crown the opposite tooth, as well. Alternatively, a special mouth guard worn at night can prevent your teeth from wearing against each other while you sleep. Finally, extra strong materials can be used to create a crown that’s wear-resistant.

If you’ve noticed signs that you could be grinding your teeth, schedule a visit with your local dentist as soon as possible. A professional exam will help you find out whether your dental crowns and other restorations are at risk for damage.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

Aug
18

3 Ways to Make Your Dental Fillings Last As Long As Possible

Posted in Fillings

Dental fillings play a very important role. They replace tooth material that was lost to decay and protect it from the effects of more decay. Sadly, these restorations will not last forever. That’s because they just can’t compare with the defenses complete natural enamel has.

How can you make your fillings last as long as possible? If you’re interested in saving money and preserving your smile, then here are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  1. Make Excellent Oral Hygiene Your Habit

Keeping your mouth as clean as possible will lower your risks of decay. Cavity-causing germs are awfully good at hiding out around the edges of fillings! The quicker they break in, the sooner you will need a new filling, or even a crown.

  1. Eat Healthy!

A diet heavy in simple carbohydrates promotes the growth of sticky and acidic dental plaque. This film is what causes cavities. Keep your diet up to par by reaching for fresh foods that are high in fiber or other nutrients, such as apples and carrots. Fresh fruits and vegetables keep your teeth cleaner and even help “brush” away the plaque that’s there.

  1. Protect Your Investments

If you have a chronic habit of grinding your teeth, especially while you sleep, then the excess pressure could cause potential problems. The grinding may wear down your teeth, weaken the margins around fillings, and cause small fractures to occur. A customized mouth guard can help protect your teeth and your fillings while you sleep.

Are you concerned about the longevity of the dental restorations that you already have? Talk with your dentist to find out more about making your fillings last.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

Jan
6

Night Guards Can Save Your Smile

Posted in Mouth Guards

Clinching and/or grinding your teeth can cause all kinds of problems with your teeth, the muscles in your face, and the joint in your jaw (TMJ).  Clinching is when you clamp your teeth together and grinding is when you put your teeth together like when you chew, only you are not chewing any food.

The dental term for grinding or clinching your teeth is bruxism.  How do you know if you are bruxing?  Often, people brux their teeth without realizing they are doing it.  Stress is a major reason why people brux their teeth.  Some ways you can tell that you are bruxing are:

  • Waking up in the morning with sore facial muscles or your joint in your jaw (TMJ) feels sore
  • The biting surfaces of your teeth are worn down

When you brux, you are putting excess force on your teeth, which can cause your teeth to chip, crack and/or break apart.  One way to know you might have a crack in your tooth, is when you have pain in that tooth upon chewing.

When you have a large chip, crack (fracture), or a broken tooth, you will need to have that tooth restored with crowns, onlays and potentially, root canals and/or dental implants to prevent it from being lost altogether.

What can be done to protect your teeth from bruxism?   Visit your dentist.  He/she will examine your teeth and discuss bruxism with you.  If you are diagnosed with bruxism, your dentist will most likely create a night guard (called a bruxism guard) that will be made specifically for your teeth to protect them from the wear and tear of bruxing.  As a result, you will protect your attractive smile!

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202

Dec
27

4 Signs of Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Do you clench or grind your teeth? It might happen when you sleep, on your drive home from work, or even when you’re stressed out during the day. Chronic bruxism can cause a lot of problems for your smile.  Here are 4 signs that you might notice if bruxism is a problem for your smile:

Flattened Teeth

It’s easy to see how grinding your teeth could make your teeth flat. Even though tooth enamel is the strongest thing in your entire body, grinding teeth against one another can still make them wear down. You may see flat enamel in the front of your mouth or starting on the cusps of your back teeth.

Enamel Worn Away at the Necks of Your Teeth

As you grind your jaws together, your teeth will flex just a very small amount. This flexion occurs along the necks of your teeth. You may not notice it until a significant amount of grinding has occurred. At first you will see some mild gum recession, but then you will notice large notches in your enamel, almost as if someone was chipping away at your tooth just next to the gumlines.

Broken Restorations

Fillings and crowns will start to break, chip, or crack under too much pressure. Yes, these restorations are made to withstand normal biting and chewing, but if you have bruxism, that’s more pressure than teeth are made to withstand. It could mean you’re having to replace your dental restorations more often than normal. 

Sore Jaws or Headaches

Muscle tension through your jaws and face can mean sore muscles or headaches when you wake up, or later throughout the day.

Wearing a protective splint or guard is a great way to protect your smile from bruxism. Get one from your dentist today!

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Oct
28

3 Reasons Why Your Teeth Look Worn and Flat

You may have noticed your teeth looking more and more worn down as time has gone by. Is this natural? How can you prevent it? Let’s discuss three possible factors that could be wearing down your smile.

Grinding and Clenching

The habit of grinding and clenching (whether you are aware of it or it happens in your sleep) not only puts stress on your jaw muscles, but it also can wear down your teeth. The grinding action rubs away enamel and dentin over time, causing teeth to lose their original height. Grinding and clenching can loosen crowns, and alter the way existing fillings fit in your teeth. This creates a new uneven surface between teeth and makes them prone to more wear.

Using Your Teeth As Tools

People might have a habit of chewing on pens and pencils, biting their nails, or holding hairpins in their mouth. These are classic examples of abrasion in which teeth are worn down from constant contact with another hard surface.

Restorations

Some crown or filling material may be harder than your teeth themselves. The strong material used to reinforce one tooth can eventually wear down a tooth the meets from the opposite side when you bite down. Some filling materials are too soft and will wear away quickly, leaving an uneven surface for the opposing tooth to be worn down by. By evenly reinforcing both opposing teeth with materials of equal strength, the wear process can be reversed.

If you are unhappy with the way your smile is being worn down, talk to your dentist about how to help you elevate your smile to a new level.

Posted on behalf of:
Linda King, DDS MAGD
4146 Georgia 42
Locust Grove, GA 30248
(770) 898-8872

Oct
25

Why is My Child Grinding His or Her Teeth?

Bruxism is the name for a habit of grinding or clenching teeth, and it usually happens during a deep sleep. Affecting both kids and adults, it can be particularly difficult to pinpoint the cause of the habit in children. Bruxism is fairly common in kids, and is usually outgrown. In some cases, however, the problem persists. What are some possible underlying causes that can be addressed?

Bruxism could be the result of misaligned teeth. If top and bottom teeth don’t fit properly when your child bites down, this could be causing some tension in the mouth, resulting in a grinding habit.

Grinding and clenching could be a response to some form of temporary pain such as that experienced with an earache or while teething. In this case, once the source of the pain passes, the grinding too should go away.

As in the case of adults, bruxism can be indicative of nervous tension (stress) or even anger. Children are easily affected by things such as family changes and pressure to perform well in school. If your son or daughter is dealing with a stressful event in his or her life, then the bruxism could be a temporary symptom of that.

Lastly, certain medications or other underlying medical conditions (such as hyperactivity and cerebral palsy) have been known to have bruxism as a side-effect. Talk with your child’s doctor about potential systemic causes of teeth-grinding.

Depending upon your child’s age and how long the bruxism habit has persisted, the dentist will determine at some point whether or not intervention will be necessary. The key is to have your child’s bruxism habit well-monitored so that our team can be ready to address it.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Sep
8

3 Benefits of Bite Guards

Posted in Mouth Guards

Also known as a night guard or even a stress guard, bite guards are intended to prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth. Grinding and clenching are habits that typically occur during the night during sleep. Some people who suffer from this are not aware that they do it until they see the effects afterward. The bite guard is worn at night to prevent such detrimental activity. How can this guard benefit you?

  • Prevent damage to teeth. Grinding and clenching wears down the chewing surfaces of teeth and puts stress on their structure. This makes them prone to fractures and chipping. A guard will protect teeth from bearing the brunt of the force.
  • Preserve your dental restorations. Fillings are easily damaged by grinding and clenching. Crowns can also be shifted out of place, worn through or even chipped. Even implants can suffer from excessive biting force. All these restorations are designed to withstand normal chewing activity, but grinding and clenching can negate the benefits they provide. A bite guard is a wise investment that protects beautiful and costly restorative work from the effects of grinding.
  • Ease jaw pain. The intense activity of the chewing muscles can cause extreme fatigue on the joint that moves the jaw. Grinding and clenching can overwork your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). A guard will limit the movement of your jaw, relieving stress on your TMJ.

A bite guard may be your key to preserving a strong and healthy smile. If you are not sure whether you have the signs of a harmful grinding or clenching habit, then be sure to talk to your dentist during your next visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Jul
24

Why Do I Have Worn and Chipped Teeth?

As you’ve gotten older, have you noticed your teeth starting to wear down? Perhaps they have flat edges or chips along the biting surfaces. You may even start to notice fillings breaking or crowns wearing out before they should. What causes this, and what can you do to stop it?

Worn teeth can come from a couple of different causes:

Clenching and Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism is usually caused by stress. The chronic clenching and grinding may happen when you sleep, during your commute to work, or even while you are sitting at your desk. Most of us do it without even realizing that we are. Symptoms may include headaches and muscle pain. Since eliminating stress from our lifestyles isn’t always possible, we recommend wearing a protective bite splint. This protective splint prevents the teeth from forcefully wearing against one another, and the added flexion that comes from that force. As a result, you eliminate the cause of wear and prevent muscle pain and tension. Most people usually see results within just a day or two of use.

Irregular Bite Relationships

Misaligned teeth that do not bite together properly will place force on tooth surfaces that were not designed to withstand them. When repeated day after day, those teeth begin to wear in abnormal patterns. The best way to proactively address this is to consider realigning the teeth through orthodontic therapy.

Sometimes our teeth shift out of place into an abnormal bite after a neighboring tooth has been extracted. Replacing missing teeth as quickly as possible will prevent any other teeth from drifting out of place, resulting in the same problem.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

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