Have you noticed a chipped or cracked tooth, but don’t how it happen? It could have been damaged while you were sleeping. Grinding or clenching your teeth during the night will cause your teeth to chip, crack, and even break. To keep you from seriously damaging your teeth, we recommend a dental appliance called a nightguard. A custom-fitted nightguard protects your teeth from grinding and clenching in your sleep. At Lakeshore Dental we are careful to make sure you have a proper fit to prevent pain in your jaw joint. Do you also have frequent headaches? If so, you may find that a side benefit of your night-guard is headache prevention. Many headaches start during the night, caused by the extreme pressure caused by grinding and clenching your teeth. Ask us about having a night-guard custom created especially for you.
A common cause of cavities in older adults is xerostomia or dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. If you are experiencing dry mouth these are things you can try:
- Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
- Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
- Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant hydration.
- Xylitol products, sugar-free gums, and lozenges help stimulate saliva production.
- Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
- Avoid foods and beverages that can worsen the symptoms, such as coffee and alcohol.
At each appointment, please bring an updated list of medications. We would be happy to discuss options and products to help with dry mouth and prevent cavities.
Did you know that many tension headaches are related to your bite? An estimated 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension.
Tension headaches result from muscle strain or contraction. Headaches from dental stress are a type of muscle tension headache. Specific signs which indicate that the headache may have a dental origin include:
● Pain behind the eyes
● Sore jaw muscles or “tired” muscles upon awakening
● Teeth grinding
● Clicking or popping jaw joints
● Head and/or scalp painful to the touch
Dental occlusion is another name for the way your teeth meet when your jaws bite together. The trigeminal nerve, which controls sensation in the face as well as functions like biting and chewing. Pain in one branch of the nerve can activate other branches of the nerve. So even though the problem started in your mouth, you may feel pain in your head, such as behind the eyes, in the temples, or in the forehead.
Making matters worse, the muscle tension involved with oral health problems can spread to other areas of the body. For instance, when the muscles in your mouth or head clench, your neck muscles may also contract and may become overworked and painful.
Headache pain can also come from grinding your teeth at night, which overwork your jaw muscles as well as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). These are problems associated with the jaw joint, called TMJ, often signaled by popping or clicking in the jaw. They can upset the musculature muscle causing headaches, often severe in nature, which can be misdiagnosed as migraine headaches.
If you suspect that your headaches might be caused by your bite, contact Lakeshore Dental. One of our dentists will examine your teeth, your muscles, and your jaw joints to determine if dental stress is the source of your headaches. If so, treatment options can be discussed.
Oral Health Foundation – https://www.dentalhealth.org/jaw-problems-and-headaches The American Academy of Craniofacial Pain – https://www.aacfp.org/resources/
Stop using tobacco or don’t start – Using smoked or chewed tobacco exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
Drink alcohol only in moderation – Excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in your mouth, making them susceptible to oral cancer. Moderation for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Avoid excessive sun exposure to your lips – Protect the skin on your lips from the sun by staying in the shade when possible. Wear a broad-brimmed hat that effectively shades your entire face, including your mouth. Apply a sunscreen lip product as part of your routine sun protection regimen.
Visit us at Lakeshore Dental regularly – As part of your routine dental exam we inspect your entire mouth for abnormal areas that may indicate mouth cancer or precancerous changes.
The American Dental Associations explains that mouthwash does not replace brushing or flossing but, it may access difficult areas that your toothbrush can not get to. It may also help to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Mouthwash can help:
- Prevent or control tooth decay
- Reduce plaque (a thin bio-film of bacteria that forms on teeth)
- Prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease)
- Reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth or to produce a combination of these effects
- Freshen breath
With so many mouthwash ads it is hard to know what to choose.
It is important to understand the types of mouthwashes and the ingredients.
Therapeutic, or antibacterial mouthwashes have active ingredients that kill bacteria and can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, cavities and bad breath. Those that contain fluoride help prevent or reduce tooth decay.
Cosmetic mouthwash, temporarily controls or reduces bad breath and leaves your mouth with a pleasant taste, but will not reduce your risk of cavities or gum disease.
To see if you could benefit from the use of mouthwash in adjunct to your brushing and flossing routine or to see if you are using the correct type of mouthwash, ask Lakeshore Dental.
Lakeshore Dental is not only dedicated to your smile, we are also dedicated to your overall wellness. That is why at every re-care appointment we include an intra-oral and extra-oral cancer screening as part of your exam.
Our team is trained in screenings that involves an examination of your entire mouth and neck not just your teeth. This is done to help detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth, lips or neck
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
How to help prevent oral cancer.
- The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and minimal alcohol consumption.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.
Early detection of oral and neck cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment. Visit Lakeshore Dental on a regular basis – at least twice a year.
Who doesn’t want a sparkling white smile, fresh breath and healthy pink gums. Making sure your mouth stays healthy is one of the most important reasons for regular visits to the dentist. But, in between visits, it’s up to you to maintain a healthy mouth.
Here is a list of things to help improve your oral health and get all the benefits that come with it!
DO use the right toothbrush. That means a soft-bristled multi-tufted toothbrush with a head that’s small enough to get comfortably around your entire mouth. And don’t forget to change your brush every 3-4 months.
DON’T brush too hard. Brushing too hard can cause gum recession and damage the root surfaces of your teeth by abrading them. Exposed roots may be more sensitive and are at greater risk for decay.
DO floss at least once a day. Flossing is the best way to remove plaque in places where your toothbrush just can’t reach. Plaque that isn’t removed leads to tooth decay and gum disease, so don’t neglect this important part of your oral hygiene routine. You’re only half done if you just brush!
DON’T snack on sugary foods. According to the National Institute of Health, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in both children and adults – even though it is almost entirely preventable.
DO use fluoride toothpaste. Research has consistently shown that fluoride is not only effective at preventing cavities, it also helps to repair tooth enamel.
DON’T brush immediately after drinking acidic beverages (soda, sports drinks, juices). Acids “soften” the hard enamel covering your teeth. Acids in sodas, juices and sports drinks dissolve calcium out of the surface enamel by a process called de-mineralization. However, saliva – which is rich in minerals – has a natural neutralizing ability to re-mineralize enamel surfaces affected by acid. But this takes 30-60 minutes. That softened surface layer can easily be removed with a toothbrush. Just like brushing too hard, brushing right after you consume acidic food or drink can have negative consequences for your teeth leading to significant enamel erosion. Its best to wait one hour to allow your saliva enough time to neutralize the acidic attack.
DO drink enough water. Drinking plenty of water and keeping well hydrated has a number of health benefits for your entire body. In your mouth, it keeps sensitive tissue moist and promotes the healthful action of saliva. As mentioned above, saliva buffers acids, but it also aids in digestion, helps the mouth fight germs and even has a role in protecting teeth from decay.
It is that time of year and we have been reflecting on what we are grateful for on a professional level. Of course, we are grateful for all of our loyal patients. As for technology, we are thankful for the advancement in the intraoral camera which is beneficial in the care of oral health.
An intraoral camera is a tiny digital camera that enables Dr. Dan, Dr. Mike or team to capture images which will help to educate our patients. The camera looks like a writing pen that when moved around the oral cavity allows images of tooth surfaces, gum conditions, and other details to be captured. The stored images can then be viewed on the chair side monitor. It allows the doctors and team to educate patients on the findings which will allow conversation as to the best treatment options. With early detection, the advised treatment may be less invasive, less expensive as well as time saving.
Most dental fillings are used to replace and restore teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay. A crack in your tooth is another reason for a filling. Symptoms of a cracked tooth can include sharp pain when you bite down. Pain may come and go quickly when you bite down because you’re expanding the crack with the combined pressure of your teeth. Another sign is a constant feeling that something is stuck in your tooth.
Over time a filling may have to be replaced after normal wear and tear has occurred. The seal between the tooth and the filling may break, after which bacteria can build up underneath the filling and cause decay.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call Lakeshore Dental. Remember, you may not be able to see a crack or worn filling. A dental exam and x-ray can determine the cause and if caught early can prevent an infection or the need for a crown.
According to the American Dental Association, the average adult between the age of 20 and 64 has three or more decayed or missing teeth.
If you’ve lost a tooth, especially one that’s not visible when you speak or smile, you may be thinking you can get away without replacing it. But will you get use to how weird the empty space feels?
Over time, the teeth next to the missing tooth will shift or drift toward each other in an attempt to fill in the gap. This leads to a condition called malocclusion, which means the teeth are not aligned properly.
Malocclusion can cause changes in your bite, which can result in extra strain on the jaw, difficulty chewing, and an increased risk for tooth decay.
Missing teeth can also cause bone loss along the jawline, which leads to a sagging appearance around the mouth. The bone tissue no longer receives support from the tooth, so it weakens over time and can cause you to look older. Not replacing a missing tooth can have physical and mental consequences.
Mental Consequences of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth
Missing or misaligned teeth can affect your self-esteem and self-confidence. This can have a negative impact in daily life or social situations.
Restoring Your Smile
With today’s dental advances, you don’t have to suffer from missing teeth. Here are some options to replace a lost tooth or teeth:
Implants. Most similar to a natural tooth and have become most popular.
Bridges. Anchored to the adjacent teeth of the space and a pontic (replacement tooth) in between.
Dentures or Partials. An option if you’ve lost all or most of your teeth.
The replacement process is not as difficult as you might think and will pay off in the long run. Talk with Dr. Dan or Dr. Mike about which option is best for you.