Dental Tips Blog


ADHD and the Dental Patient

Dental patients with ADHD or ADD may sometimes find that they need adjustments to their treatment or dental visits in order to make them more comfortable and provide better care. If your child takes medication for their attention deficit, it may help to schedule their dental appointment soon after the time when they normally take their prescription. This can allow the patient to have a better experience and benefit from the influence of their medication while it is still fresh in their system.

Some patients that take medications for ADD/ADHD may have oral side effects that you want to be aware of. One of these is dry mouth, or xerostomia. Many medications cause dry mouth, but it can be problematic in that dry mouth can predispose a person to tooth decay due to the lack of natural washing or lubrication from saliva. Have your child drink water frequently throughout the day and check their oral hygiene practices to ensure thorough plaque removal. Using a fluoride rinse such as ACT may also be beneficial as it can help remineralize weaker areas of the teeth. Some ADD/ADHD medications can also cause tongue discoloration, gingivitis, decreased taste or difficulty swallowing.

You may find that your child has habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding or trauma due to hyperactivity. Encourage preventive measures such as the use of bite guards for bruxism or sports guards to prevent from injuries during physical activities, or chewing Xylitol containing gum rather than on fingernails or other items.

Let your dentist know what concerns you have about your child’s oral health and if there is anything that you need help with improving. Your dentist and their team are trained and ready to offer personalized care to all patients and meet their special needs in a way that is effective.

Posted on the behalf of Dr. James Kincaid



Teeth Grinding, Clenching and Bruxism

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, and clenching the teeth can occur during the day or night, and causes our teeth to wear down prematurely. Tooth enamel is one of the strongest substances in the body, but when teeth are overexerted they cannot withstand the abnormal wear. The results include flat, worn teeth with chipped or broken enamel. Prolonged clenching and grinding can also cause dental treatment such as fillings and crowns to break of fail long before their normal life expectancy.

When someone grinds their teeth, the wear patterns typically appear as flat edges along the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Sometimes the back teeth will develop a wedge in the enamel along the gumline, similar in appearance to toothbrush abrasion. This is due to flexing of the tooth from severe pressure over time. As the teeth wear away, they can also become sharp against delicate oral tissues, and weaker over time.

Causes of tooth wear can be to stress or anxiety, but it is also very common in younger children to grind in their sleep. Sometimes this is a normal part of the tooth exfoliation process and is nothing to become alarmed about. Typically children who grind their teeth seem to do so for only a couple of years before their baby teeth fall out. Adults that have a nicotine dependency may be prone to develop bruxism habits.  Other research shows that grinding often accompanies symptoms that are associated with sleep disorders.  Malpositioned teeth may also wear prematurely due to improper alignment. When left untreated, TMJ pain or disorder may also develop.

If you wake up with sore jaws, or catch yourself clenching often through the day, discuss therapeutic bruxism treatments with your dentist. When it comes to teeth grinding, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure!


Stop Teeth Grinding with a Custom Mouth Guard

Most people grind their teeth from time to time, but if you are one of the millions of Americans who regularly grind their teeth, you should know that it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.   Teeth grinding (also called bruxism) can be caused by a number of things including misaligned teeth or a poorly developed bite, but the most common cause is stress.  Most cases of teeth grinding occur at night while the patient is not aware of it.

Teeth grinding is far more than just a bad habit.  It can cause serious damage to your teeth and other problems.  Teeth grinding wears down the surface of the molars and causes tiny cracks in the enamel.  These cracks are an ideal environment for bacteria to collect and cause tooth decay.

In addition, teeth grinding can cause headaches and may even be the cause or trigger of migraine headaches in some people.  The teeth clenching can cause soreness in the jaw and facial muscles and contribute to TMJ and bite disorders.  Teeth grinding interrupts sleep patterns and can cause irritableness, tiredness, and other problems caused by not getting a good nights sleep.

Reducing stress can often help reduce teeth grinding, but if not, talk to your dentist about a custom made mouth guard to protect your teeth. You can buy over the counter mouth guards, but these are pre-formed, one size fits all type items. They are usually bulky and uncomfortable which causes people not to wear them.  A mouth guard has to be worn to be effective.

Your dentist can custom make a mouth guard that will fit your teeth and mouth comfortably.  Custom made dental mouthguards protect the teeth from damage and help stop teeth grinding.  You will be able to sleep comfortably all night long and wake up refreshed and relaxed.

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