Posts for: November, 2017
Chronic stress can cause any number of physical problems like back pain, insomnia or stomach ulcers. In the mouth, it can also be the cause of teeth grinding or clenching habits that may lead to pain and tooth damage.
Besides toothaches and jaw pain, stress-related teeth grinding may also be causing your teeth to wear at a faster than normal rate. While the teeth can withstand normal forces generated from biting and chewing, a grinding habit could be subjecting the teeth to forces beyond their normal range. Over time, this could produce excessive tooth wear and contribute to future tooth loss.
Here, then, are some of the treatment options we may use to stop the effects of stress-related dental habits and provide you with relief from pain and dysfunction.
Drug Therapy. Chronic teeth grinding can cause pain and muscle spasms. We can reduce pain with a mild anti-inflammatory pain reliever (like ibuprofen), and spasms with a prescribed muscle relaxant drug. If you have sleep issues, you might also benefit from occasional sleep aid medication.
A Night or Occlusal Guard. Also known as a bite guard, this appliance made of wear-resistant acrylic plastic is custom-fitted to the contours of your bite. The guard is worn over your upper teeth while you sleep or when the habit manifests; the lower teeth then glide over the hard, smooth surface of the guard without biting down. This helps rest the jaw muscles and reduce pain.
Orthodontic Treatment. Your clenching habit may be triggered or intensified because of a problem with your bite, known as a malocclusion. We can correct or limit this problem by either moving the teeth into a more proper position or, if the malocclusion is mild, even out the bite by reshaping the teeth in a procedure known as occlusal (bite) equilibration.
Psychological Treatment. While the preceding treatments can help alleviate or correct dental or oral structural problems, they may not address the underlying cause for a grinding habit — your psychological response to stress. If you’re not coping with stress in a healthy way, you may benefit from treatments in behavioral medicine, which include biofeedback or psychological counseling.
If you would like more information on dental issues related to stress, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress & Tooth Habits.”
In November, many of us take time to reflect on what we are most thankful for—and good health is often put at the top of the list. If your teeth and gums have been trouble-free this year, congratulations! If not, here’s how to start making next year a better one for your oral health:
No Rushing When Brushing
It takes time to do a good job on the vital task of brushing your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice each day for a full two minutes. That’s not a lot when you think about it: only 30 seconds to reach the front, back and chewing edge of every tooth in each quadrant of your mouth (upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right). Yet many people don’t regularly achieve the two-minute mark. So it’s a good idea to time yourself and see how long that actually is!
Clean In Between
Disease-causing dental plaque builds up not only on teeth, but also in between them. So it’s important to use floss or another interdental (between-the-teeth) cleaning aid. If you don’t floss, you’ll miss cleaning about a third of your tooth surfaces! Plaque left in place can harden into a deposit called calculus or tartar, which can only be removed at the dental office—not at home. When it remains on the teeth, tartar can irritate gums and promote dental disease.
Don’t Be a Stranger!
Practicing a good daily oral hygiene routine is essential for a healthy mouth, but regular dental exams and cleanings are also vital to maintaining your oral health. Routine dental visits are one of the best preventive healthcare values available. You’ll be screened for everything from cavities to oral cancer and alerted to any concerns that should be dealt with now—before they grow into bigger, more expensive problems later. So don’t be a stranger at the dental office!
Maintaining good oral health will help ensure your quality of life—today, tomorrow and throughout your life. That’s truly something to be thankful for.
If you have questions about oral health and hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”
Invisalign has changed the smiles and lives of millions of people by revolutionizing the way they straighten their crooked teeth. You've likely heard of this orthodontic system, which uses clear aligners that look similar to whitening trays. But if you've ever wondered if Invisalign is right for you, you've come to the right place. Below, Dr. Anna Dneprov of Smile Designers in Gresham, OR has answered a few common questions from her patients regarding Invisalign.
How does Invisalign work?
Invisalign uses a similar method to traditional braces: it places controlled pressure against certain teeth to move them into the proper position. However, instead of metal brackets and wires, your teeth shift into place with gentle compression from the soft plastic aligners. Your Gresham dentist will actually show you a custom virtual treatment plan with your final results included.
How is Invisalign made?
Your Gresham dentist starts your journey to straightened teeth by taking precise and comprehensive measurements of your mouth. These can include x-rays and digital images. The information is sent to a dental laboratory, where your series of aligners will be custom made out of a medical-grade, BPA-free flexible plastic. Each aligner will reflect the subtle changes that your teeth will undergo while wearing the aligner before it.
When can I remove my aligners?
For maximum effectiveness, your aligners should be worn 20 to 22 hours a day; while you work, sleep, and drive in your car. However, they are designed to be removed while you eat and drink, as well as to properly brush and floss your teeth and clean your aligners. This feature ensures that you maintain a healthy diet and good oral hygiene during your Invisalign regimen.
If Invisalign sounds like something that might work for you, it's time to make an appointment at Smile Designers. Contact our office in Gresham, OR to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dneprov today!