Teeth grinding, also medically known as bruxism, is a condition where you unknowingly grind or clench your teeth. This can happen during the day, but it is also common for it to happen at night as well. Those who have it happen more frequently at night are often sufferers of other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or snoring.

Bruxism is not a serious condition, especially those with mild cases, and often doesn’t need treatment. Patients should seek treatment for bruxism when it causes them to have headaches, or if they develop a jaw disorder or damage their teeth.

For night sufferers of bruxism, it may not be obvious that you have bruxism. That is why it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of bruxism so you can be aware and seek treatment if necessary.

 

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Flattened or chipped teeth
  • Worn down tooth enamel
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Jaw and neck pain
  • Earache-esque pain
  • Dull headache starting in the temples

 

Causes

It’s not fully understood what causes bruxism, but there are a few theories surrounding both awake bruxism and sleep bruxism.

  • “Awake bruxism” may be emotionally triggered, such as those who suffer from anxiety, stress, and frustration. Awake bruxism can also be used as a coping mechanism for some, and may happen unintentionally to someone who is heavily concentrated on a task.
  • “Sleep bruxism” as mentioned before, may be linked to other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

 

Risks

Individuals that match the criteria down below are more likely to suffer from bruxism, and therefore should be extra careful and aware of the warning signs.

  • Age. Bruxism is more common in younger children, but they usually grow out of it by their late teens.
  • Medications and other substances. Bruxism can often be a common side effect in some medications, particularly antidepressants.
  • Family members with bruxism. Those suffering from sleep bruxism tend to have other family members who suffer from it as well.

If you develop any serious conditions related to bruxism or wish to repair teeth damaged by bruxism, schedule a complimentary consultation with us.

Last week we talked about dentures and debunked some cliches surrounding who is able to get them. This week is all about the work that goes into taking care of your dentures to make sure that they stay in optimal condition and keep your mouth healthy as well.

 

Brushing

 

As with your natural teeth, your dentures need to be brushed as well to remove and avoid stains, as well as to remove any food particles that can harbor bacteria. There are denture specific brushes at every supermarket which work the best for cleaning your dentures. Make sure that the bristles are labeled as “soft” because hard bristled brushes can cause damage to your dentures.

 

Cleansing

 

While you would think that toothpaste would be safe to use on your dentures, toothpaste is actually too harsh for the denture material. Instead, dentures need to be cleaned using mild hand soap or dish detergent to get the job done. Pay attention to not use anything that contains bleach as it whitens the pink portion of the denture implant and makes it look less natural. When you are not wearing your dentures, keep them in a glass of cold or luke-warm water as this helps them retain their shape by keeping them moist. Hot water can cause the denture implant to warp and require the wearer to make an unexpected trip to the dentist.

 

Regular Visits to the Dentist

 

Having properly fitting dentures is vital to the health of your mouth, as well as maintaining the integrity of the dentures. If for whatever reason your dentures are not fitting properly, contact your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. Book an appointment with your dentist as well if the denture cracks, bends, or begins to cause you pain. Never try to fix your dentures yourself and waste money on over-the-counter repair kits. It is not worth the risk.

 

When you receive your dentures, your dentist will give you a complete care guide which will provide detailed instructions on everything that you need to know. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully and contact your dentist if anything is unclear.

 

What are Dentures?

Dentures are commonly associated with the elderly as seen on T.V and possibly even in your own family. You often only see one type of denture in the media though: the full mouthpiece that Grandma or Grandpa take out of their toothless mouth and put in the glass of water, but that’s not the case all of the time. While the elderly association with dentures is fitting as people often get dentures to tooth decay caused by age, but anyone at any age can be a candidate for dentures–both partial and complete–depending on their situation. Periodontal disease, malnutrition, and even drug use all speed up the decay of teeth and cause the need for dentures at an earlier age.

 

Along with their aesthetic function, dentures serve a variety of other beneficial uses for the recipient. Wearers are able to chew their food better without the risk of choking, and are also able to articulate themselves more clearly due to enhanced pronunciation.

 

Partial and Complete Dentures

Dentures come in two different types: partial and complete. A consultation with your dentist can determine which is the best option for you, should they decide that dentures are the right fit for your situations.

 

Partial dentures are recommended to patients who still have healthy, existing teeth. Much like a bridge, the false teeth can be connected to your real teeth. Partial dentures are typically placed using either a series of wires or by using a fake gum base which will adhere to the mouth. This can be done to a single tooth or several teeth.

 

Complete dentures are used on patients who need an entire row of teeth to be replaced. Even if there are healthy teeth in place, they may need to be extracted for the purpose of properly fitting the dentures in the patient’s mouth. Complete dentures often take a little longer to create as they’re made once the teeth that needed to be extracted have been taken out and the gums have healed. Once done, the patient will need to make an impression of their gums by biting into a putty. This will ensure that the dentures are customized to fit their mouth for maximum comfort and efficiency.

 

In the meantime, the patient may be given a set of immediate dentures to use in the meantime while their permanent dentures are being made. The only downside to these dentures is that they are not custom fitted to your mouth and may cause discomfort and a decreased ability to do certain tasks such as chewing. However, the process shouldn’t take long and your dentist will contact you as soon as your dentures have come in so you can live in comfort.

 

Your dentist will go over detailed care instructions on how to look after your dentures, something which we will discuss in a future blog post in detail.

 

In the meantime, if you feel like dentures are the right choice for you or a loved one, please contact your family dentist and schedule in a consultation.

It doesn’t take much these days to get surface stains on your teeth. Coffee and wine drinkers and those who frequently use tobacco products are most susceptible to developing yellow or grey-toned teeth, but age also plays a role with our teeth naturally darkening the older that we get. However, with the media at our front and center every day, no one wants their teeth to look like this, even though teeth are not naturally meant to be completely white. As a result, procedures–both at home and in the dentist chair–have become widely available for those who seek it out. The treatment is considered cosmetic, and therefore not covered under insurance should you seek professional treatment, and comes in two forms: surface whiteners and dental bleaches.

 

Teeth Surface Whiteners

Definitely the more affordable out of the two, these teeth whiteners can be found at any local grocery store or pharmacy, nestled among the many brands of toothpaste and mouthwash. Each company will have its own version of a ‘whitening strip’, but they all essentially work the same way. Likewise, each brand will also have their own whitening toothpaste that is like regular toothpaste, but will generally have some sort of course material within to scrub and polish the surface of the tooth to remove the stains. These products are safe to use and are very unlikely to cause any wear and tear on the tooth itself. Keep in mind that products under this category of ‘surface whiteners’ are designed for just that: surface stains. These products will not correct heavy staining or internal staining, and definitely should not be used in place of a professional cleaning done by your dentist.

 

Dental Bleaches

Bleach treatments are best done from the comforts of the dentist’s office, but are much more expensive and may not achieve the desired outcome. A consultation with your dentist will determine whether this teeth whitening treatment is best for you, depending on the circumstances in which your tooth has become discolored. This is vitally important to ask of those who have undergone procedures such as filling, crowns, and root canal treatments since this type of discoloration is not the same as coffee stains. Once cleared for the procedure, there are two different kinds of bleach treatments available for teeth whitening, both of which your dentist will go over with you in explicit detail.

  • Vital bleaching is done on teeth that are considered “alive” and is generally used for removing stains caused by coffee and wine, as well as teeth that have grown naturally dark with age.
  • Non-vital bleaching is done on teeth that are not considered “alive”, such as teeth that have had their color altered by treatments like a root canal or a filling. Non-vital bleaching works within the tooth and whitens it from the inside out.

Once the treatment has been selected, it now comes down to choosing the method. This is determined by the number of teeth that the client wishes to be whitened, as well as the history on the tooth and how it came to be discolored.

  • The first method involves using a combination of light and heat on the teeth that have a special bleach applied to them. This often yields the fastest results as the light and heat activate the bleaching process right away.
  • The second method involves wearing a mouthguard custom fit to your mouth. The mouthguard is filled with the same bleach and you will be instructed to wear it for a certain amount of time during parts of your day.
  • The final method involves using a special toothpaste (not drugstore brand) that is mixed with the same special bleach.

Once again, only your dentist can make the call on which treatment and method is safe and effective for you to use. If you believe that teeth whitening is something that you would like to pursue, please contact your dentist for a free consultation and look over your options.

Before you ask, no, this is not a team-building exercise like how it sounds, although the bonding procedure will bring your teeth closer together, so the metaphor still works. A couple weeks ago we talked about veneers and how they work to get you that bright celebrity smile. Bonding is very similar in the way that it perfects your smile, so let’s take a closer look at it.

 

What is bonding?

 

The outcome of bonding is a lot like the veneer procedure that we talked about last week, though it is more commonly used for mild cases such as a single chipped tooth. The material is also similar as a composite resin is used for the restoration process. If you’re not familiar with composite resin, it’s a soft tooth-colored material that is placed in the gaps of your teeth and then hardened using light. The finished result will look polished and natural. Composite resin can also be placed on top of the tooth to cover up stains and match your teeth to one another.

 

How is Bonding Done?

 

Since composite resin is very delicate to work with, your dentist will first insert a thin plastic film between the tooth that is receiving the resin and the surrounding teeth. This way the composite resin will not go anywhere it is not supposed to. Then, like with veneers, your dentist will place a mild chemical on the treated tooth to make it slightly rough. This acts as an adhesive for the resin and will make it easier for it to bond to the enamel. Layers will be added as needed, with a light to harden each layer before the next is applied. After the final layer has been added, your dentist will shape the tooth and polish it to make it look natural and blend in with the rest of your teeth.

 

If you’re interested or wondering if you might be a candidate, contact your dentist and set up a consultation. They will be able to answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

February is most often associated with Valentine’s Day, but did you know that it is also National Children’s Dental Health Month? It’s a great time to bring awareness to children’s dental health, especially if they happen to gorge on all of that Valentine’s Day chocolate when the price gets slashed to 75% off after the holiday. Treats like that are great, in moderation of course, and taking care of their teeth after they’ve feasted their little hearts out is a top priority. But are the requirements for children’s teeth the same as adults? Let’s take a look.

 

A recent finding from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) actually found that the majority of children are using way too much toothpaste which, in turn, is damaging the enamel of their developing teeth. Children younger than 3 should only be using a smear of toothpaste that is equal to the size of a grain of rice, while children 3-6 years of age should use toothpaste equal to the size of a pea. The guidelines only go up to age 6, mainly because further beyond that children are less likely to swallow their toothpaste, although assistance from the parents may still be required.

 

However, the ‘pea sized amount’ can be applied to teens and adults as well. Most of us just load up the toothbrush though because that’s how toothpaste is marketed and advertised to us on a daily basis. This is one of those cases though where less is definitely more.

 

Oh, and don’t worry about spending the extra buck to get ‘child specific’ toothpaste. Adult toothpaste works just as well without paying the marketing premium for a picture of your child’s favorite cartoon character on the bottle. Unless your child is under 3 years of age and requires a toothpaste with 1,000ppmF, the adult kind with 1,450ppmF is totally safe to use.

 

For a refresher on brushing techniques that you can also use to aid your child, click here.

Have you ever wondered how the teeth of celebrities are so perfect? They’re blindingly white, straight, gap-less, and often cause us to feel insecure about our own teeth. But were they born with these perfect teeth, or is there something else at play here? More than likely, these are not their real teeth and are instead veneers.

 

So, what are veneers? Veneers are thin shells that do not replace your teeth like an implant, but rather adhere to the front of them are to change their shape and reduce gaps. They come in two different kinds of materials: porcelain and composite resin with porcelain being the more expensive and time consuming one. However, porcelain veneers are stronger, stain resistant, and tend to last longer than their composite resin counterpart.

 

How Are Composite Veneers Applied?

 

The whole procedure can be done with one visit and is completely painless so it requires no local anesthesia to numb the area. Your dentist will apply a mild, harmless chemical on the surface of your tooth that acts as a glue for the composite resin to stick to. The composite resin is then applied in layers until the desired thickness is achieved, then hardened with the use of a bright light. The resin will be the same color as your natural tooth so they don’t look out of place when finished. Once the last layer has completely hardened, your dentist will then apply the finishing touches by shaping and polishing the tooth to give it a natural and smooth appearance.

 

 

How Are Porcelain Veneers Applied?

 

Porcelain veneers are typically done in two visits and may require the application of a topical anesthetic since your dentist needs to remove a thin layer of enamel from your natural tooth before the veneer can be applied. During the first session, your dentist will make a mold of your teeth since porcelain veneers are custom made for your teeth. While these are being created, your dentist may apply temporary veneers which will be removed until the permanent veneers are completed. Keep in mind that these temporary veneers are very fragile and need to be handled delicately during eating and cleaning as they may become loose.

 

During your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary veneers and put a mild chemical on your teeth to make them a little rough, much like the composite veneers. The porcelain veneers are then glued to your teeth one by one.

 

Am I a Candidate?

 

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for getting veneers, whether it be the composite or Porcelain variety. Listed below are possible reasons why you may not qualify:

  • Too little enamel
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • If you clench or grind your teeth which can damage and break the veneers

What Else Should I Know?

  • Veneers, no matter if porcelain or not, MUST be brushed and cleaned just like your regular teeth.
  • This procedure cannot be reversed because part of your enamel has been shaved away.
  • Veneers are fragile and can chip. If this happens they will need to be replaced. Avoid chewing hard foods and objects such as ice cubes and fingernails.
  • Since veneers are a cosmetic procedure, they may not be covered under your insurance. Talk to your dentist about your options.

Again, only your dentist can answer everything about this procedure. If you’re interested or wondering if you might be a candidate, contact your dentist and set up a consultation.

Tooth loss can happen at any age whether it’s through an accident or the natural process of aging. Whatever reason it may be, the loss of a tooth for most people results in a lowered self-esteem and even embarrassment. Luckily, with the rise of technology and professionals dedicating themselves to improving lives, dental implants can fix all of these problems. Unfortunately, like with most things, there are always restrictions and barriers that may prevent them from receiving dental implants. One of them, namely, is their age.

Surprisingly, those most affected by the age restriction are individuals on the younger side of the age spectrum. Children and teens are more likely to lose their adult teeth through an accident or poor oral hygiene, but if they’re considering dental implants, they may have to wait until they are 18 or 19 as dental implants require the patient to have a fully developed jaw. As children grow, their bones change shape until they reach adulthood and inserting dental implants before that happens could result in major complications and require even more dental work to fix. However, every human is unique and only an x-ray can determine if the bones have fully formed and the patient is a candidate for dental implants.

Good news for adults and seniors! There is absolutely no age cap for dental implants as they have proven to be successful in patients in their 80’s and even into their 90’s. Of course, a patient’s health is the first and foremost concern, but if the patient has no outstanding health issues, it is almost guaranteed that they will be accepted for the procedure.

So generally, in conclusion, there is no “right” or “best” time to get dental implants. Everyone’s situation is unique and is always considered when making a major decision like this, and only your dentist can determine if it is the right procedure for you.

Want even more information on dental implants? Contact your dental professional and book a complimentary consultation today.

When you think of cavities, you often associate them with children. Their sugar rich snack life of soda, chocolate bars, and coated candies leave their teeth extremely susceptible to tooth decay, but children are not the only ones who fall victim to this. In fact, anyone who consumes any form of sugar is at risk for cavities, and some may be more prone to them than others depending on a multitude of factors.

Before we get into those, however, it’s important to know exactly what a cavity is. Essentially, a cavity is a small hole in your tooth caused by the breakdown of enamel, which is the outer layer of your tooth. The plaque on your teeth absorb any sugars that you eat and produce acid that wear away at the enamel until a hole forms. This hole will need to be filled and fixed by your dentist as there is no way to repair them at home.

So, how do you know if you have a cavity? The signs and symptoms of cavities will vary, and you often won’t know in the beginning stages that you have one, but as time goes on and the cavity becomes more noticeable, you may experience:

  • Spontaneous tooth pain or discomfort
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods/drinks
  • Sharp pains
  • Holes in your teeth
  • Pain when you chew

As far as the people who are more prone to getting cavities, studies have shown that the following factors put an individual more at risk:

  • Inadequate brushing
  • Age
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Eating disorders
  • Certain medications

Taking proper care of your teeth and attending your bi-annual check ups are very important in reducing your risk of cavities. Talk to your dentist for a detailed prevention plan if you happen to be prone for cavities.

We’ve all been in this situation before. Your dental cleaning is going on as normal and then, out of the corner of your eye, you see your dental hygienist pick up The Tool. You know the one. It’s sharp and curvy with the potential of making your gums bleed and make your teeth feel like they’re going to fall out of your mouth when you come home half an hour later, and it’s all because your dental hygienist found tartar on your teeth. It doesn’t have to be this way though because today we’re going to talk about the differences between plaque, tartar, and how you can avoid buildup and save yourself from gum disease.

 

The first stage begins with plaque.  Certain foods cause more plaque buildup than others such as foods loaded with carbohydrates, as well as sweets and candies. You can’t see it because it is colourless, though sometimes it can also turn a very pale yellow, but it’s the sticky film that constantly grows on the surface of your teeth. Inside this film dwells bacteria which has the potential to cause tooth decay and irritate your gums, resulting in swelling and redness. Don’t worry too much, though. Plaque can easily be removed from your teeth by regular brushing, but it is when the plaque is not removed that it becomes an issue.

 

In the second stage, the film can harden to create tartar (also known as calculus) which unfortunately cannot be removed by a toothbrush and floss, and must instead be removed by a dental hygienist with that horrible tool that we mentioned earlier. Therefore, it is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day and keep up with regular flossing to ensure that the buildup doesn’t have a chance to take place.

The third stage can be a multitude of things, some more serious than others, but no more desirable to have. If tartar and plaque are not removed, they can lead to issues including:

  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis (in some cases can lead to periodontitis)
  • Halitosis (commonly known as bad breath)

Both cavities and gingivitis will be covered in detail in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, please keep up with your good brushing habits to keep your teeth and gums in optimal health. If you need a refresher course on proper brushing and flossing techniques, check out this blog.