Sounds like you may be bruxing! Bruxism is characterized by grinding of the teeth and typically includes clenching of the jaw. Most bruxers grind at night time and this is when the majority of the health issues occur.
Q? Why am I grinding?
A. Possible triggers to tooth grinding in adults are anxiety, stress or tension, trauma to a period of unusual stress, suppressed anger or frustration, aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality type, abnormal occlusion/bite, and other sleep problems.
Q? Do I grind my teeth at night? How do I know if I am grinding?
A. Most people who grind at night are not aware of their habits unless someone around them happens to be awake while the grinding occurs. Your dentist is a valuable source and can show you any signs of grinding that you may have.
Q? What are some symptoms of tooth grinding?
A. Some common symtoms of tooth grinding are teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped, worn tooh enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, gum recession, jaw pain/tightness, headaches, facial/neck pain, and earaches.
Q? What are the consequences to tooth grinding?
A. Bruxism can result in occlusal trauma (the abnormal wear patterns on the biting surfaces of the teeth), abfraction lesions (loss of tooth structure from flexural forces) and fractures in the teeth/ existing fillings. Over time, dental damage increases. Bruxism is the leading cause of occlusal trauma and a significant cause of tooth loss and gum recession. Some patients may develop temporomandibular joint disorders. Tooth grinding can also contributing to exisitng periodontal disease and make bone loss worse.
Q? What can I do to stop my grinding?
A. Unfortunatley, once someone starts the habit of grinding their teeth at night, they will continue to grind. Stress reduction is key: exercising, yoga/ meditation, listening to relaxing music, taking baths, etc.
Getting fitted for a dental nightguard protects your teeth from further damage. Nightguards made by dentists are custom fitted to fit your teeth and positions your lower jaw in a more relaxed state, preventing you from grinding and reducing any muscle strain.
Dental nightguards are relatively thin, light and are very comfortable to wear. Please come visit us if you have any questions.
Sylvia Koo, DMD
West Somerville Dental
‘My tooth broke and the pain is killing me, I need to see the dentist NOW!’
This is a common call made to the dentist office. No one wants to endure this extreme pain; a tooth that cracks and then splits is very painful. Early detection of the symptoms is easy and important to avoid experiencing this pain.
How do I know if my tooth is cracked?
The characteristic symptom of a cracked tooth is a sharp pain on biting, that goes away immediately on release. If the situation is not detected at this stage then it may progress to:
1. Nerve damage:
Irreversible damage of the nerve: The symptoms will then progress to a throbbing pain which comes and goes without any identified trigger.
2. Broken tooth:
Complete split of the tooth: The crack may progress and ultimately split the tooth apart - even while while chewing on soft or hard foods.
But why does the tooth hurt?
The tooth hurts because on biting the crack is split open, when the bite is released the crack closes again and this change in pressure irritates the nerve. Untreated it will damage the nerve.
How do we treat my cracked tooth:
If detected early the treatment may be simple and restricted to a simple procedure like bonding or a crown.
If detection is delayed, nerve damage may occur, and then the tooth may require a root canal.
In severe cases, the tooth maybe untreatable and require extraction.
However each case is different and the earlier the problem is treated the better the prognosis.
Take care and remember to brush!
- Marhama Alvi, DMD
Here is an interesting article on this subject published by the American Dental Association
We all wish that our children never get hurt - but the fact is the highest incidence of tooth trauma occurs, not surprisingly, in children! All we can do is be fully prepared for such an situation.
Tooth Trauma peaks twice:
- Baby Teeth: The first peak is between the age of 2-3 years, when kids are still uncoordinated walkers and keen to discover their surroundings :-)
- Permanent Teeth: The second peak occurs between the age of 9-10 years, when kids get sport injuries - this condition is more common in boys than girls.
As a parent or childcare provider it is important to be aware of how to best deal with this situation. Here is a step by step guide on what to do:
- Stay calm, reassure your child
- If there is bleeding, apply pressure to the site with gauze and hold it in place till bleeding stops
- Give the child something cold to suck on – this will act as a cold compress and prevent swelling
- If the tooth is chipped or a piece is broken, check to see no piece is imbedded in the soft tissues
- Contact us as soon as you can, we need to take a look at the tooth
Depending on the situation, we will do either one of the following:
If the tooth is chipped or broken:
- If there is no pain or discomfort - all we have to do is keep an eye on it
- If there is pain due to a sharp edge traumatizing the lip or cheek, the treatment may be as simple as smoothening off the edge
- If there is pain due to an exposed nerve, we will evaluate the health of the tooth and then decide the appropriate treatment plan
* If it is a baby tooth then it is very important to make sure the injury has not traumatized the permanent tooth underneath*
If the tooth is loose in its socket:
- If it is a baby tooth, we will evaluate and ensure it does not cause any damage to the underlying permanent tooth
- If it is permanent tooth, we may decide to hold it in place - with a wire - and recommend a soft diet
If the tooth is knocked out:
- FIND THE TOOTH!!
- If it is visibly dirty, wash it under cold water.
- DO NOT SCRUB. DO NOT TOUCH THE ROOT SURFACE OF THE TOOTH. Just hold the tooth under running water. It is important to keep it moist and the best way to do so is place it back into the socket it was lost from. If that is not possible then keep it in your child's or your mouth between the cheek and the teeth
- Try to get to us within 30min. If it is a permanent tooth we will try and place it back into the socket. The success rate is higher if done within 30min of the injury.
West Somerville Dental is always prepared to deal with emergency patients. Please give us a call and we will take care of you !
Take care and be safe!
Marhama Alvi DMD
Do you use Yelp ?
Do you have an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 or Palm Pre device ?
If so, it's time to download the Yelp mobile app and check in to West Somerville Dental. New patients get a free gift for checking in !
See you soon !
Marhama Alvi, DMD
Recently Michael Douglas announced on The David Letterman show that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. This condition got widespread attention - and everyone realized the importance of early detection.
Your dentist is your closest partner in detecting not only serious conditions such as oral cancer but also, other irregularities that could potentially harm your quality of life. Many unhealthy symptoms manifest themselves first in the mouth - so remember to brush your teeth well and visit your dentist twice a year!
West Somerville Dental encourages its patients (existing and prospective) to make an appointment and visit our dentists. We always do Oral Cancer screenings as part of our normal dental exam. Happy New Year everyone and see you soon!
As a favor for a friend, we are posting this link to a questionnaire for DENTISTS ONLY about practice advisory services. The results of these questions could shape the future of the dental industry. West Somerville Dental is excited to play a tiny part of helping improve dentistry and increase the quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Thank you for your participation. If you have further questions about this survey, please send us your information and we will pass your questions along to the survey maker.
What is the best way to whitening my teeth? The answer is simple, the best teeth whitening solution is the one that meets your teeth whitening expectations at a price that you are willing to pay.
There are a handful of methods to whiten your teeth:
- Brush and floss regularly - your mother was right!
- Use whitening toothpaste - found in most stores
- Get regular cleanings - we recommend every 6 months
- Get professional treatment - either in home or in office bleaching or laser treatment
- Consider veneers - custom made caps
If you have teeth, we recommend the first three regardless of your desire for a bright smile. If you want a whiter smile, or simply want to remove yellow teeth stains, we have found the professional treatment option of Custom Teeth Whitening trays, that you can administer at home, to be the most cost effective and successfull option. Here is how it works.
Step 1: Schedule a consultation with your dental provider and tell them you would like your teeth whitened. They will tell you if you are a candidate for treatment.
Step 2: Your dentist will take an impression of your upper and lower arches of your teeth and cast a model. They will then create a soft rubber-like custom tray that will fit over your teeth, much like a sports mouth guard.
Step 3: Your dentist will give you your trays along with whitening gel, typically a professional strength (10-30%) Carbamide Peroxide, along with instructions on how to apply the gel into the tray. For in-office whitening, your dentist can apply a prescription strength gel to your teeth in a 45-60 minute treatment for instant results.
Step 4: Each night before bedtime, you apply a small portion of the gel into the custom trays and insert the trays over your teeth for 30-60 minutes for a period of two weeks (or per your dentist's instructions).
Step 5: Smile and enjoy your white teeth.
Off the shelf white strips and toothpastes can work, but they are no where near the strength of professional bleaching systems that can be administered by your dentist.
How about cost? Most dentists will charge between $200 per arch for custom bleaching trays ($400 total). A healthy white smile leads to a happy patient, which is important to us.
How do I get started? Call your dentist right now or give us a call at (617) 625-0543 or register online for our new in-office Tooth Whitening Special. When you have your exam, ask your dentist if you are a candidate for professional whitening. Get your impressions that day and you can likely pick up your custom crays and whitening gel the following day.
Good luck and enjoy your new smile!
By Dr. David R. Steuer, Director, Alliance Dental, LLC