bruxism

Why Straight Teeth?

February 6th, 2018

TO SOME, IT MIGHT seem like the benefits of having straight teeth are purely cosmetic. And those benefits certainly do exist. Studies have shown that people tend to perceive someone with straight teeth as wealthier, happier, and more dateable than someone with crooked teeth. But there are plenty of other important health and lifestyle benefits as well.

Consequences Of Crooked Teeth

There are many different ways crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth can negatively impact a person’s health and quality of life. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones.

Difficult To Clean

When teeth overlap each other in ways they aren’t meant to, they can be much harder to clean with brushing and flossing than straight teeth. If teeth aren’t getting cleaned as effectively, then they become more vulnerable to tooth decay.

Impede Clear Speech

Underbites, severe overbites, and other alignment problems can interfere with a person’s ability to speak clearly, leading to lisps and other distortions in articulation.

Interfere With Healthy Digestion

Chewing is a critical part of the digestion process. Our saliva begins to break food down on a chemical level while our teeth break it apart into more manageable pieces. Crooked teeth can make it difficult or even impossible to chew food enough, which forces the rest of the digestive system to pick up the slack. This can lead to a number of unpleasant GI consequences, and it can even make it harder to lose weight!

Can Interfere With Healthy Breathing

If your teeth don’t fit comfortably together, you might keep them apart instead of closing your jaws when resting. This can lead to mouth breathing, which has many negative health effects. The two most connected to oral health concerns are chronic bad breath and dry mouth.

Can Cause Jaw Problems

If there’s something wrong with your bite, that can result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndromeSymptoms include a clicking jaw joint, jaw pain, and frequent headaches.

Do Your Teeth Need Straightening?

Having straight teeth eliminates or greatly reduces all of these problems. This, paired with the cosmetic advantages and the boost in confidence, makes orthodontic treatment a very worthwhile investment. If you think you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, schedule an initial consultation with us so that we can find out what will be best for your smile. In the meantime, keep brushing, flossing, and scheduling your regular dental appointments!

You deserve the best for your teeth!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Making Malocclusions Bite The Dust

January 23rd, 2018

A MALOCCLUSION OCCURS when the upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly, which can lead to a variety of problems. These bad bites can impact our speech, our digestion (by making it difficult to chew our food), contribute to TMJ syndrome, and even put our teeth in danger of breaking.
Causes Of Malocclusions

Malocclusions are often genetic. You might inherit different sized jaws that don’t fit together easily, or you might inherit teeth that are the wrong size for your jaws. Malocclusions can also be caused by injuries or bad oral habits during developmental years. These include thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, lip-sucking, mouth-breathing, nail-biting, and teeth-clenching.

Parents can help their children have healthier bites as they grow up by discouraging these habits. If the malocclusion is the result of one of the above mentioned bad habits, breaking that habit will be a crucial part of ensuring the malocclusion doesn’t return (but don’t worry; we can help with that).

Common Malocclusion Types

In a correct bite, the upper front teeth come slightly over the lower front teeth, and the points of each molar fit in the grooves of their counterparts in the upper or lower jaw. There are quite a few ways a person’s teeth can veer away from this healthy ideal, but we’ll just cover five of them here.

  • Excessive protrusion: the upper teeth stick forward, or overjet the lower teeth horizontally more than in a healthy bite
  • Underbite: the lower teeth overlap or partially cover the upper teeth
  • Crossbite: some of the upper teeth bite down on the inside of the lower teeth
  • Deep bite: an overbite so severe that the upper front teeth completely overlap the lower front teeth, sometimes driving the lower teeth into the gums behind the upper teeth when biting down
  • Open bite: the front upper and lower teeth do not make any contact with each other when biting down

Orthodontics And Bite Correction

These and other types of malocclusions can be corrected with orthodontics. That sentence might conjure up mental images of bulky headgear or extensive oral surgery, but don’t worry. While surgery and headgear may still be necessary in severe cases, bite correction is typically much more low profile and hassle-free today than it was in decades past. And, of course, the result of orthodontic treatment is a healthy and beautiful aligned smile!

Let’s Take A Look At Those Teeth!

Schedule a consultation with us today so that we can make sure everything looks good with your bite and make a plan to correct any alignment problems. We look forward to giving you the healthy bite you deserve!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth?

August 23rd, 2016

MANY PARENTS HAVE heard their children (loudly) grinding their teeth while they sleep at night, or even during waking hours. You may  worry about the health of your child’s teeth or what their tooth grinding habit means and what has caused it. We hope this blog post answers your questions!

Why Does Teeth Grinding Occur?

Most commonly, bruxism–or teeth grinding–occurs at night. The causes of bruxism are not entirely understood and every child is different. Teeth grinding can occur due to teething in infants, or even when children get their permanent teeth. Others may do it in response to pain, frustration or stress. Some may grind or clench due to improperly aligned teeth. Certain medical conditions as well as genetics may also make people more prone to grinding.

Is Bruxism Worrisome?

Bruxism is fairly common among children. In fact, twenty to thirty percent of children grind or clench their teeth at one point during childhood. The good news is, most outgrow it and do not incur any lasting damage to their teeth during a teeth grinding phase.

If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, it’s important to take them to your dental care provider. The symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Grinding noises while your child is asleep
  • Pain when chewing
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Sore jaw or face, especially in the morning upon waking

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or you suspect that they grind or clench their teeth frequently, pay us a visit. Fortunately, most cases of bruxism in children do not require treatment, as it usually goes away over time. However, depending on the cause of your child’s bruxism, we may recommend various treatment options. For example, if your child grinds their teeth in response to stress, perhaps a more calming bedtime routine may help. Or if your child’s bruxism is due to a misaligned bite, orthodontic treatment could be the solution.

During your visit, we will examine your child’s teeth for tooth enamel wear and damage. If there is damage, or your child grinds their teeth very frequently, we may recommend a custom-made night guard to protect teeth and hopefully prevent grinding.

We’re Here To Help

Whatever the reason for your child’s teeth grinding habit, we would love to help! Have any more questions or concerns about bruxism? Come in to see us today!

Our patients rock!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Katrina Br*?#*!@nd used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

May 3rd, 2016

DID YOU KNOW THAT STRESS can have an effect on your oral health? As if you needed any more on your plate! Knowing how stress and oral health are connected can help you combat any problems that might arise.

Stress May Contribute to Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the technical term for habitual teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For some people, clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration. Teeth grinding, however, usually occurs during sleep, meaning that people are often unaware of the problem. Flatter tips of the teeth, headaches and a sore jaw are common signs of bruxism.

Stress Can Worsen Symptoms of TMD

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the jaw joint and associated muscles used in moving the jaw and neck. Similar to bruxism, stress is thought to be a contributing factor in TMD, causing jaw clenching, joint pain, headaches and even popping and clicking of the jaw.

Your Immune System Is Weakened During Times of Stress

Stress can actually compromise your immune system, increasing your risk of oral infections. Some people experience dry mouth, putting them at a higher risk of developing cavities. Others contract canker sores when stressed. Stress can even increase your chances of experiencing gum disease.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene and Health, Even During Difficult Times

Keeping your oral health routine in tip-top shape, especially when you are stressed, is essential! Continue to practice good oral hygiene and you will protect your mouth from infection and decay.

For most people, it’s difficult to see the effects of stress on their bodies until something happens. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly, as he or she can detect the telltale signs of stress in your mouth and help you to remedy any problems.

We Want To Make Life Easier For You

When you’re under a lot of pressure or life gets tough, the last thing you think about is your oral health. We want to make things easier for you by helping you to avoid any oral health issues not only when you’re stressed out, but all the time!

Learning to deal with the inevitable stresses of life in a positive way will boost your oral and overall health. However, if you do feel you are experiencing any symptoms of bruxism, TMD or other oral health problems, call us and schedule an appointment. We have solutions for you!

Keeping our patients happy and healthy is our priority!

Image by Flickr user web4camguy used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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